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  • Writer's pictureHaydn Dickenson

ART AS A MIRROR: JUNGIAN SYMBOLISM IN ABSTRACT PAINTING

Many things in life have taught me about myself. Adopting a rescue dog was one of these. Sadly my beautiful dog passed away eighteen months ago, several years too early. I still miss him and am not yet ready to adopt another, but that time will come.


Art has been another great teacher. I aligned with Abstract Painting as my principal means of personal and spiritual self-expression comparatively late in life.


I like to think of the canvas as a mirror.


To me, this mirror is not a static looking-glass, nor is its surface one of polished pristine purity. It delivers a reflection more akin to that offered by water that, in a kind of visual 'tempo rubato', bends and stretches its images, catching the clouds as well as the sun, temporarily obscuring the information while raindrops fall.




THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS - Haydn Dickenson (2017)

I often find that the act of painting can tell me something about me, about my subconscious at a particular time; this can be illuminating, moving, sometimes disturbing, often enlightening.


“The history of symbolism shows that everything can assume historical significance: natural objects (like stones, plants, animals, men, mountains and valleys, sun and moon, wind, water and fire), or man-made things (like numbers, or the triangle, the square and the circle). In fact, the whole cosmos is a potential symbol” (Carl Jung, MAN AND HIS SYMBOLS)


Jung goes on to speak of “three recurring symbols...the stone, the animal and the circle – each of which has had enduring psychological significance from the earliest expressions of human consciousness to the most sophisticated forms of 20th-century art.”


LA JOUISSANCE - Haydn Dickenson (2019)

For me, abstract art is about psychology, about painting feelings. Notwithstanding that my paintings are conceived as pure abstraction, starting – if all the conditions are right – from nothing, I have found that I, and other people, frequently see objects in them; this is perhaps in the Jungian sense that the objects are symbols presented by the subconscious.


Children, especially, 'find things' in my mark-making. I had a piano student many years ago who would provide elaborate interpretations of the shapes in my paintings every time she came for her lesson. My two-year old granddaughter finds dogs and other representations in my abstract canvases, and she is also very clear as to which pieces she likes, and which she doesn't!


Jung's concept of Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious has long been a source of fascination and wonder for me, and I am convinced that symbols are planted within my paintings, but not consciously by me.


In this way, the canvas becomes a looking-glass, a portal to the psyche.


SIX - Haydn Dickenson (2022)




Copyright Haydn Dickenson 2022

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Лидия Минц
Лидия Минц
27 nov 2022

Thank you!

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