the sleeper

Alchemy and the Emperor's New Clothes

I am currently interested in the mystery in art. I have always felt that there can be something present in art which is beyond the tangible name of it parts. I feel the eyes can look back at you beyond the oil, pigment, and linen. This presence by it nature is unquantifiable and for that reason defies our current world of calculated risk. I see this belief manifesting itself in the world through love, faith, and kindness. My concern is that the human yearning to believe can and has been manipulated through religion, politics, and even art. I feel people want to see the eyes looking back and this desire has been exploited by snake oil salesmen.

I often think of the fable of the Emperor's new cloths. I feel the yearning we have for meaning can influence people to imagine the emperor wearing beautiful clothes as a sort of disassociation. Sometimes I think it is a hope to reconcile a part of ourselves we feel ashamed of. Recently I have rethought the ending of the tale of the emperor's new clothes. The emperor is indeed naked but his naked form in its vulnerability is perhaps the beautiful new clothes the people are looking for. The people are led to believe they are going to see a new form of beauty constructed by the emperor's tailor. They believe they are seeing a new and ideal form until a child recognizes that the emperor is actually nude. I would argue that accepting the form the emperor’s naked body over an idealized idea of clothes is an opportunity for us to accept our natural form without the shame of Adam and Eve.

I feel this work is in part about exploring idealized form in relation to natural form. The work is drawn from observation using the technical language of European perspective as a tool to empirically record the form of my subjects. I am purposely observing scenes, which contain a balance of geometric and organic forms. I see this as way of observing the ideal platonic forms in balance with our natural world. I see this balance all over our human environments: a cube in relation to leaf or a house in relation to a tree. I am drawn to the European language for now as a way of connecting to my own ancestor's questions about form in relation to our observed world. I have been and am currently inspired by alchemistic process of viewing the visible three-dimensional world through the unlikely medium of paint on linen or graphite and ink on paper. The work serves as a record of this observation with the hope that by faithfully observing my subject the work contains an empathy and sympathy between my self the observed world and the shared language of my artistic ancestors. I feel that it is not the accuracy of the drawing and painting but the imperfect attempt that perhaps can elicit an increased acceptance of our authentic natural form.

Tom Walton