Wow! That looks like a Flounder!

Why do so many viewers feel compelled to put labels on images that are non-figurative, non-representational? Is it too upsetting to be confronted by uncertainty? Too challenging to some basic or fictional human characteristic that demands recognizability & the known? Why don’t they just look? Let the image tell its own story? It doesn’t seem to matter whether the viewers are “just folks” or artists who create in the non-representational realm themselves: most, though certainly not all, people seem to need the identifiable.

We are familiar with aspects of why people create abstractly, perhaps having to do with issues of detachment, etc., etc.; but such psychologizing isn’t really relevant. These are questions about the present role of representation. Even if we are using photographic means of capture, we see the underlying anomalies which make realism so fascinating. The surface is just that, a skin over other layers that tell different stories.

Comments, please.

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