My friend Jon is the most linear thinking person I know. He often thinks the connections that I make between ideas and images are absolutely random and arbitrary. When I say that one image seems to reference another, he doesn't see any sense in what I say. Partly, it is because I have a difficult time explaining the connections myself. What do you think? What do you think is the relationship between the images/ideas we come up with and the images/ideas we've encountered? What does it mean to say that the things we create are shaped by or referencing the things that have already been created? How aware are you of where your visual vocabulary and aesthetic repertoire comes from?
Here is another example of where I see a new piece of art referencing another. When I saw this Julia Fullerton-Batten photograph yesterday, my mind immediately jumped to the image of Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose. I googled the second image but the more I looked at it, the more I was unsure of what my initial connection between the two was. Perhaps it was because I've always associated the second image with fireflies, even though it is about no such thing--the girls are lighting lanterns. Perhaps it is the girls in white dresses at twilight. Perhaps it is another image I have seen but forgotten and have mistaken for this one. I don't know. But as I look on, there still seems some visceral connection between the two images...
|Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose|
John Singer Sargent
Collection of the Tate