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THEME: Generalizations of Understanding

Published onJan 22, 2021
THEME: Generalizations of Understanding

Generalizations of Understanding

The Incognito series by Rose Frantzen explores identity without the use of optical illusion, but instead through the insertion of a three-dimensional figure into a two-dimensional historical painting. Particularly in Haunted by What Neither Is, the figures seem to be contemplating each other and their role in the image. How does the three-dimensional figure, with all of their complexities and individuality, live up to their parallel art historical depiction? By using art historical references, the paintings examine the changing standards for character and beauty throughout time. When looking to the past, it’s easy to create generalizations that lead to a simpler statement of what life must have been like for the Egyptians, Mayans, or for populations just one generation removed. As with the In the Face of Illusion series, the nuance of individual experience can be so quickly lost, in this case, in understanding the motivations and experiences of historical populations. By inserting a fully formed being into the painting, it calls into question the identity of the people and the historical era in which they lived. It forces the viewer to take a perspective that includes the many complex layers of historical and cultural events.


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