BFA Thesis Exhibit

Ren Dessart


Artist Statement

The first artist statement I wrote for this show explored the technical and conceptual details of the work. In its simplicity, my work is about the trials and tribulations of being perceived, and the way in which my perception of myself cannot be fully understood by others, and how I cannot fully understand other’s perceptions of me. I was trying to express through both the written statement and my art that perception is subjective and no matter how hard we try to comprehend it there are too many factors that are beyond our control. I was then struck with an epiphany; my artist statement was trying to do the exact thing I was saying couldn’t be done. It was three paragraphs of exposition on how my work should be perceived. I said that my work is about how perception cannot be controlled even though by saying so I was trying to control the reader’s perception of my work.

Therefore, instead of trying to tell you how you should perceive my work, I will tell you what it means to me and allow you to draw your own conclusions. This show is a series of posters and photographs, created using techniques from graphic design, advertising, letterpress, and photography. The posters draw upon my inner thoughts, presented with bold colors, artistic text, and graphic shapes in an attempt to show the inner self that I usually keep imperceptible to others. They are humorous with a darker undertone which borders on the absurd, yet they also occasionally touch on quite serious topics. Interspersed on the wall with the photographs, I see them as the monologue which runs through my head hidden amongst the otherwise public moments portrayed in the photographs. The same bright colors and graphic shapes are used in the photographs to tie the two series together. The photographs are intended to capture the outsider's point of view, but they are partially covered with these graphical elements.

I see other’s perceptions of me as clouded by what they know about me, as well as limited by what they don’t. What they don’t know about me is those same inner thoughts and emotions represented by the posters, and what they do is the scenes pictured in the photographs. As all this work is viewed side by side, I see it as an intertwining of the complex reality of being perceived.

Merging these two different ideas of the self into one is difficult, and I believe it may be impossible. Perception is limited and influenced by many factors. Therefore, to try to exert total control over our own or someone else’s perception is ultimately a futile effort in my eyes. The best we can hope to do is to accept that perception is subjective. That being said, how do you perceive my work?