Bill Wolak

 

THE BITTERSWEET SILENCE OF SILK

(2018) Acrylic, oil and collage on canvas 70x70 cm
 

EACH WELCOME THAT DRAWS YOU CLOSER

(2018) acrylic and ink on board 20x30 cm
 

SOMETHING UNUSUAL LICKED THE MIRROR

(2018) acrylic and ink on canvas 60x50 cm
 

Artist statement:

What we can conceive of the universe is filtered through our bodies. Everything we perceive is deciphered by the brain using the senses and memory. But the concept of embodiment differs in different times and cultures. Thus, one of the central concerns of understanding how the body works is connected with establishing some model of embodiment based on either material or energy or some combination of both.

My collages play with the accepted notions of embodiment. In “The Bittersweet Silence of Silk” for example, I have conceived of the body as thinking hair. Hair becomes the very material of physical consciousness. However, today the notion of embodiment is developing away from the human body and into some sort of robotic matrix. Therefore, in “Something Unusual Licked the Mirror,”  I am imagining a type of robotic embodiment which I fondly call a “Wobot” (Wolak = Robot). In this robotic form, the senses have been replaced with incomprehensible mechanisms. In the future, one type of human embodiment will be centered on robotics. People will no longer be satisfied with the experience of merely being a body, they will desire, for example, to experience the internet from inside instead of as an outsider. Thus, all of the senses will be enhanced and transformed for those who view human embodiment as obsolete.

A more troubling form of embodiment involves organic material in nature that is looking back at us, experiencing us. Of course, the perceptions of us are completely incomprehensible to the human mind, so I have rendered plants with more recognizable sensory faculties. In “Each Welcome That Draws You Closer,” I have attempted to equip a lettuce with senses that everyone might recognize by suggesting that it has eyes, lips, ears, and mouth. In this way, vegetative life, with a more human embodiment, is looking back at us. What might that consciousness experience about us?

 

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