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Ian's Challenge - October - Hidden Images

I chose Hidden Images to be his month’s artwork. It was created from a dialogue between light and dark, addition and subtraction, resolve and ambiguity, the conscious and the subconscious.

Chiaroscuro is a method used in art, which emphasizes the uses of strong contrast between light and dark to create a three-dimensional illusion of a solid form on a two-dimensional surface. It was originally developed during the Renaissance in Italy. Its’ name is derived from chiaro meaning clear, or light and oscuro meaning obscure or dark. Great examples of this technique can be seen in the works of Caravaggio and Rembrandt, however Leonardo Da Vinci is perceived to have made the most of its’ use.

This drawing is not a study in creating illusion, but rather to explore hidden and subconscious emotions. The use of light and dark, in this case, are used to create drama, mood, and sensation. The dark shapes are drawn out of the mindless scribbles and rubbings by erasing what lies on the surface of the piece, releasing the hidden images. Much like a Freudian therapy session, the process reveals hidden truths by stripping away layers of suppressed thoughts and feelings until a resolve is reached; in this case a finished drawing.

Unlike Michelangelo’s method of chipping away layers of stone to reveal a hidden physical three-dimensional representation within it, Freud’s breakthrough of the psyche and psychoanalysis, gave way for movements such as German Expressionism and Surrealism. These movements turned inward moving away from objective art toward an attempt to create art as a visual interpretation of how they were affected by their environment and the emotional and psychological affects it had on them. Chiaroscuro was a great vehicle that allowed for such experimentation.

Cinematography also made use of this technique. Films such as, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligary” (1920), and “Nosferatu (1921) are just two examples. In these films painted backdrops accentuated the shadows and imagery to help create dream like-sequences and subconscious imagery.

Hidden Images is a dark and evocative drawing. For me, it captures the moment I’m startled and woken up from a dream where vague figures begin to take shape in an obscure setting where I feel most vulnerable.

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