:: Human Visions ::

After they have played out before your eyes, where do visions live…?

This was a question I asked myself several years ago. Of course, the rational answer would be: in the memory of the individual visionary, where they develop, change, get retold or re-associate with other experiences and memories, and initiate new ideas or perspectives, all as part of the process of psychological integration. But other, non-rational answers are possible: these do not belong in the scientific mind that seeks to understand what is and what exists, but in the realm of experience, which reflects upon what is felt or seen or believed. This realm, while not often factually correct, is nonetheless deeply relevant to human life and the condition of being alive as this complex, multi-faceted, multi-modal being.

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Believers in the supernatural might imagine that their visions dwell not in the mind, but in some otherworldly place, such as with a deity or in some magical realm. I do not believe in the supernatural, but I have had many experiences which look and feel supernatural, even though I know them to be generated solely from within my mind. Such unreality for me doesn't detract from their beauty, their intensity or their meaningfulness. And there is one pervasive experience that I feel whenever I have a vision, or recall one that has been profound and foundational to my psychological make-up and wellbeing...

After they have played out, visions live within my body, in my blood and in my bones.

I feel entirely sure from a scientific perspective that this experience is neither credible nor remotely likely, but as an artist, I find it interesting to experience phenomena from the full range of human possibilities, and to run with them, without lending them my belief or commitment to truth. I hold my non-rational visionary experiences to be important and relevant to my life regardless of their non-reality and non-factuality, and it is this delicately balanced spirit of inwardly-focused play which the ‘Human Visions’ series of artworks seeks to explore.

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In 2010, I produced a series of sketches for a series of longform portrait artworks with the working title 'Man Of Visions'. These sketches evoked a number of foundational visionary experiences that have ‘lived’ within me for many years, some from the time before I became an artist, and which I had never fully addressed in my arts practice. Other artistic commitments took precedence and in the fullness of time, I put the sketches away and moved on. This happens often with me: I produce many more sketches than fully-realised artworks, so the process of selection can sometimes be very sharp. ‘Man Of Visions’ was one of many sketch sets that simply fell by the wayside.

However, in Summer 2019, I was invited to exhibit new work at an exhibition called 'Fêlures et Lumière' (Cracks and Light) at the Atelier Gustave in Paris, as part of a collaboration between the Dreams & Divinities international art initiative and Eine Chance zum Glück, an Austrian charity. I was inspired to return to older sketches, to see if I could strike out in a completely new direction by returning to my roots. The ‘Man Of Visions’ sketches seemed perfect for this, and the series was brought back into the light, now renamed as ‘Human Visions’.

Human Visions 1
Human Visions 2
Human Visions 3

To date, three works have been created: these can be seen in the Visions 2019-20 Gallery. The rest of the ‘Human Visions’ series is to be produced over the next year, and between eight to thirteen final artworks are envisaged. The final works will be accompanied by only minimal narrative, the aim being to allow the viewer to explore the imagery on its own terms, but titles will be somewhat long and winding to give the audience a few clues as to the specific visionary contexts of my experiences.

Reanimating these old sketches of some of the most foundational visionary experiences in my life has, so far, greatly enthused me, and driven me towards a more playful and more spontaneous visual style. At the time of writing, three artworks have been completed, while four more are in progress, and each one has flowed very easily out of me onto the canvas. I am excited to be delving back into the deepest parts of my personal visionary prehistory!

BR, November 2019

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