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Bringing Meaning, Art and Symbolic Language Back into Architecture & Daily Life

Museum of Contemporary Art, Nice, France

Hello readers,

Although we are all bombarded in most parts of the world with a constant barrage of images and messages from advertisers and media, the Fine Arts have taken a long leave of absence from our living rooms, abdicating the places of business that we frequent on a daily business.

The cult of minimalism, while pleasant, and the spare lines of modernism, focused on the utilitarian – tend to shun references other than those of the credo of modern art:   the appreciation of art for art’s sake and self-referenced notes recalling historical traditions.  The use of images and symbols are not “modern” or “contemporary”.  Using art to connect to our spiritual or natural selves has become “uncool”.

Historically, art and symbolic language have played a very strong role in informing and influencing our connections to others and to our culture.  Symbolic language is a natural language – meaning that it comes from nature itself, replicating our human nature and instinctive language as it appears in our dreams – through art. 

Art is a very powerful means to help us grow and to know ourselves better, both as individuals and collectively.  This is why I feel it is important that we reintroduce the fine arts into our daily lives, in an active dialogue with us and not simply as a decorative fixture.  The meanings that live in images help us to feel grounded in our culture and in life itself, providing connections of significance that allow us to intuitively understand our humanity. Instead of feeling stranded and alone in our human experience, art gives us a bridge of meaning.  We are no longer isolated in our own time and bodies but given an opportunity to know ourselves in the context of history. 

All humans, from the very beginning of our evolution, share the same ability to tell stories and to understand life from a symbolic perspective.  The archetypes of all stories, defined by C. G. Jung as the “collective unconscious”, contain a cast of characters and behaviors that all humans innately understand and to which we all respond.  Our primitive brain is an emotional brain, and recent scientific research in the areas of behavioral psychology, echoed in a rash of recent books  published on the theme of how we think and behave seem to agree that the majority of our activities, choices, and behaviors emanate from subconscious thought processes.  These areas of our brain produce the language of feelings and images over rational thoughts, and the programs they run are constantly influencing our ideas and actions.

Cadiz, Spain

Contemporary architecture is full of compelling forms, distinctive use of space, and creative explorations of light, texture, and pattern.  My personal desire is to reintroduce potent symbolic image content with emotional resonance to public and residential spaces.

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