Confronted with the monumental woodblock series yesterday of Kerry James Marshall at the Harvard Sackler Museum. An ethereal roomscape cityscape landscape in spare shapes and swaths of pink yellow and green. But constructed within a world of formally arranged perpendicular lines. The power of a Beckman series combined with a delicacy, an almost painful intimacy. Certainly a mammoth task from conception to concoction, carving, printing, and coloring.
I've been meaning to discuss with my friend Neil Gore the origins or at least outline of personality development. How does it arise, what are its boundaries and byways? Are there mechanisms of personality development we can detect? Are there limits? And how does the personality process the world it encounters? How does the personality interpret its world? Or is it even part of the realm of the personality to interpret, navigate, and function within an abstract canvas, to "make sense" of the world?
In earlier posts I've written about "touching" a problem-a haptic response to artistic (and possibly wider) problem solving challenges. Here's another take.
A waking dream early this morning, based on these questions and on my observations of the Marshall prints.
The mind finds itself in a large enclosed space. Something about it is as if it were a glass room but the ceiling is low and opaque and white. Arrayed in a landscape is a series of large rocks. Different sizes, heights, textures but overall smooth and rising higher than the line of sight. The rocks cannot be scaled and even if you could scale one rock all you would get would be a view of the landscape of rocks.
What is this abstract topography and what does it mean? Does the mind perceive it in a fog so that the space between rocks is invisible or is it clear inside this landscape so that the space between rocks is available but invisible, blank. In either case the tops of the boulders are invisible so their overall shape can't be discerned. Do the rocks relate to one another? Is there a "plan" beside this abstract landscape?
So I wonder, in personality development is it the task of the mind to perceive and decipher this mystery of abstracts? Is it the role of personality to determine how the individual will negotiate through this landscape of boulders? How the individual will "make sense" or "make peace" with or interpret this topography? Is the personality in part the formation of an aesthetic, the development of an explanation for all this randomness?
How does the personality order the world, find explanations, aid in interpretations? If aesthetic = interpretation or ordering, how much of the personality plays an aesthetic role? And if every person interprets the room if boulders differently does this act as a kind of proof that each person's personality is unique?