The Self As Collaborator in Vision and Image, by J.W. Phillips

Posted on by Ginnie

Persian Muse ©2015 Oil on Linen 40" x 30".webPersian Muse ©2015 Oil on Linen 40″ x 30″


In Ginnie Gardiner’s art the self is in relation to the envelopment of the image or painting itself. The image and its abstract implications to which the self is interacting and subordinate is consistent and complete, intentional and selected. It is as deliberate at the alternative takes of a jazz variation.

The tradition of the self-portrait is, on a practical level, an outgrowth of the simple and practical truth that using one’s self is a practical tradition taking advantage of the most freely available model for every artist. We are always present to ourselves. “I is always the person always here.”

In similar passages of connubial practicality, our mate is the second most available, as demonstrated by Mrs. Bonnard (almost always ‘Madame’ in titles rarely ‘Marthe”), or Amélie Matisse.

But, convenience of the self for the artist also presents a fundamental question of consciousness in relationship to that self. It is a question more easily subordinated to live process when using a model other than oneself traditionally, because observation is less mitigated by the interactivity of observing oneself observing oneself. Photography, working from drawings (as Bonnard always did) and the distances provided by modern technology have both widened and closed that ontological expanse.

Beyond its ontological implications, the use of the self as a prop or model versus the use of the model as a projection of the self, is also the unique provenance of the artist. Cindy Sherman has explored one half of this trope and dress up and morphology has been her oeuvre. But, in Ginnie Gardiner’s art the self is in relation to not a costume but to the envelopment of the image or painting itself – the act of placement and imagery with the artist in the role of the knowing collaborator and manipulator. The mirror, the camera, and the image have merged in our world. In Gardiner’s art we are asked to enjoy that, in fact revel in its potential for discovery and re-contextualization of art, self, and painting.

-J.W. Phillips ©2016

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