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Tiko Kerr - Artist’s Statement

THE VISUAL VALUE OF LIBERATION

“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, still he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.” ― William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Perception - how we see and what shapes and distorts our visual impressions - has been the root of much of my work though the vines of my awareness have twisted off in different directions over the years. My recent series of paper cut collages explores the notion of how the innate process of pattern recognition is influenced by our current set of cultural indicators - the panoply of visual clues that make us rush to judgement about what we are seeing.

Certainly evolutionary survival has imprinted archetypes that make us compose faces and figures out of random arrangements. But we are quick to fill in cultural prejudices, socio-economic biases, emotional connections and narrative constructions based on a minimal set of visual clues. We see signals and make assumptions. But the truth of identity is malleable and can be cut up in many ways.

We are in a historical moment when how we categorize people, how we instinctually and culturally encode them with loaded negative values or misplaced judgments can lead to political opposition, severe ostracization, harsh actions or, most commonly, the psychological grief of societal indifference occurring when individuality is reduced to invisibility. No one really wants to look carefully for more than is what is supposedly obvious. It is that attitude of contemporary cultural ignorance that I seek to upend with my new series of paper cuts and paintings entitled Body Language.

The work challenges us to consider how we construct - and need to loosen - our visual assumptions about identity.
© 2016 TIKO KERR All Rights Reserved