visual symbolism

artist statement

Those with the gift of sight exist in a world of visual cues: images and impressions of physical scenes or subjects. By simply seeing a subject you, the viewer, may be missing a more succinct message embedded by a dynamic and astute artist.

The Vines an original nude visual art masterpiece by Allio

The Vines
mixed media on cotton
18 artist attributed visual symbols

Faith Eikos – nude muse
  28 special recognition artworks in 739 presentations

Scientifically, we see because of reflected light. The lens of the eye, or the apparatus of a visual artist, then manipulates a scene or subject through interpretation or filters. We assimilate each scene or subject through experienced or inherited filters. Differing life experiences result in disparate, incongruent, and even contradictory interpretations of a scene or subject.

Fine Art offers the viewer an intentional and responsible application of visual symbols through clues and cues to the artist’s intended message within a single artwork or broader practice. This is significant to the artist’s agency in the visual communication process.

As an artist in the medium of photography, my process for communicating through visual imagery begins with composition, from original lens selection to cropping or expanding image content, extending through subject matter, and entangling visual symbolism. Erroneously, viewers of photography assume an implied authenticity of realism that unjustifiably condones irresponsible negligence to the possibility that photography can and does contain the same iconographical messages as other art mediums. Intentional or not, photography is a medium of visual symbols. Critical applications of embedded visual tropes elevate a photograph as a work of art to that of a fine art.

Think of an artwork as a written sentence requiring a noun and verb for minimal completeness. In a photograph, the noun is the scene or subject and the verb is the action or interaction of image content. The modifiers – adjectives and adverbs – are the artist-applied language tools of visual symbolism.

A photograph or "sign" is a visual message (signified) and subject (signifier). Iconography is a group of personal symbols in a body of work. Through calculated application of visual symbolism – established historic iconography, cultural interpretation, and personal context – an artist may elevate each image from a common scene or subject to a work of expressive fine art. These personal symbols are unique to each artist and the more you, as a viewer, contextually contemplate an artist’s works, the easier it should become to "read" their intended message. For responsible interpretation, the artist may embed direct or coded information as allusion and suggestion beyond the natural subject to guide a viewer through the artist’s higher visual communications.

Confusion inevitably occurs when viewers bring their own personal biases, interpretations, and experiences as filters to the reading of an image. Idealistically, an empathetic artist will assist in viewer comprehension through, direct and sometimes distinctly detailed, consistent information regarding personal definition and deliberate application of visual symbols. As an example, various cultural interpretations may interpose anything along a scale from mild confusion to intolerant opposition as iconography vacillates through conflicting appropriation and misappropriation of cultural values.

Many of my photographic artworks contain layer upon layer upon layer of visual symbols. In an attempt to assist you, the viewer, some insights, perspectives, and references are now posted with each image in the artwork of the day and the weekly artblog image.

First and foremost, my nude artworks are intended to conform to the Latin phrases nuditas naturalis symbolizing the natural state of the human form – think Garden of Eden – and nuditas virtualis symbolizing purity and innocence. However to some myopic viewers, all nudity must be either nuditas temporalis depicting a naked person in poverty, and/or nuditas criminalis as naked lust, passion, and vanity. All four Latin expressions have been and may be the basis for art – and even fine art. Singularly, no interpretation may be exhaustive or complete based on personal, cultural, or environmental influence. Essentially, despite explicit evidence from the artist, the viewer will decide how to engage an image.

If you have a question/comment for Allio, please complete the Contact form available by menu link from each web page. Discourse encouraged. Thank you and enjoy the many nude artworks in the online Allio Art gallery.