In the simplest of terms, sanity can be defined as the ability to distinguish between what is real and what is not. This concept seems straightforward enough at first glance, but if you think about it for a while, the line between reality and illusion is not as bright and clear as we think.
Some examples might help illustrate what I mean. A good magician can make us question everything we see. Or consider how, as time passes and the body of human knowledge increases, we have found that many things we once thought were fantasy are actually true, and some things we thought were true are actually fantasy. Also, there are things upon which two intelligent people can have opposite ideas regarding what is real and what is not, UFO’s, global warming, Donald Trumps hair…
Sometimes the line between reality and illusion is blurred and manipulated intentionally by advertisers, politicians, movie special effects masters, and charismatic zealots of all kinds. At times, the line is obscured by the limits of our senses or knowledge.
For me, what these mental meanderings lead to is; how do I express these thoughts using the language of landscape painting? My answer was this painting, a realistic illusion of a small section of door and wall on an ordinary old metal farm building. If, upon first glancing at this piece you thought someone had just cut out part of an old building and framed it… you were momentarily deluded.
This painting is more than just a realistic rendering of reality (say that fast three times!). The graphic elements of the painting are intended to function as an abstract design, and the black wedge above the hinge hints at the darkness that lies just beyond the very fragile boundaries of sanity.
It can be extremely disorienting and disturbing when your impression of what is true or real undergoes a shift. I wonder, is reality merely a belief shared by the majority?
Just thinking about it is enough to make you become “Unhinged”.
Image and text © 2015 James Golaszewski