Pondering Dimensionality


Reading about Jasper Johns and making a little book with thick pages has me thinking about the difference between the two dimensional and the three. Nothing we can touch is actually two dimensional. The flattest, thinnest substrate still has meat; adding graphite, chalk or paint increases heft. We can see light and theorize about things that have only two dimensions, but we cannot hold those things in our hand.

Jasper Johns An Allegory Of Painting, 1955 - 1965,  Jeffrey Weiss

Jasper Johns An Allegory Of Painting, 1955 – 1965, Jeffrey Weiss

Not sure where I am going with this, but I am intrigued that the two dimensional is less knowable than the three. If a lung to take a breath cannot exist in two dimensions then how claustrophobic is one? Logarithmically increased in profundity, that’s what. The human brain spins (at any rate, mine does) and becomes disoriented trying to conceive of the complete flatness of it all. These words on the screen seem chunky by comparison.

But they are not. They are composed of light. I can touch the screen they live in; I cannot touch them. Entirely insubstantial and conditional upon external energy applied. No wonder I  put my words in paintings and make them aggressively 3D.

It’s another stab at control, power and eternal life. I’m like an ancient Greek warrior. I want my name to live on. But I want mine attached to something more solid than word of mouth.

Let me get back to this light thing. Scientifically speaking, is there a dimensionality ascribed to light? Time, I guess. I can apply paint to a surface, give it even the slightest thickness and it will both reflect light and cast shadow. The perception of even the smallest deposit of stuff will now change as the planet on which it rests, turns. Cool.

I don’t know what I’m doing with this until I get back down to my studio, but that’s enough talking for now.