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  • Lea Springstead

Friday Night Projections of The Collective Subconscious

Carl Jung postulated that human religion, stories, and myths are populated by projections of what he called the collective unconscious. Figures like Jesus and Zeus were archetypal representations of the fundamental human soul that we all share, and the journey that our projections take are symbolic of the journey that each individual must subsume in order to fully experience what it means to be human.


Contrary to conspiracy theories, an authoritarian literary comity that defines and regulates the parameters of the expression of the human collective does not exist.


The synchronicity of archetypal themes throughout religion, mythology, and other stories happens organically.


I think that Carl Jung was right: humanity unintentionally projects it’s collective subconscious through art. Otherwise thematic distillation of religion, myths, and stories would be much more elusive than they prove to be.


Perhaps the measure of the effectiveness of art coincides with the measure of the effectiveness of the projection of the collective subconscious?


With this in mind the perception of a work of art is slighted towards rectification of the meaning of the subconscious. This trajectory may not be in line with the artist’s conscious statement or perception of their own work.


Are there any works of art that are exempt from drawing on the collective unconscious; is it possible to separate from the unconscious when consciously creating art? If not, then should there be an order of interpretation? First the collective implications, then read into the artist’s statement, or the other way around, or does prioritizing the defragmentation of abstract consciousness miss the point of whatever is really going on? Probably the latter.


Last night, at the Wired Gallery in High Falls, NY, was the opening reception for Kerhonkson, NY based artist Raul Serrano.


Large scale paintings exemplified a spectrum of technical execution, with an emphasis on the gestural execution and delineation of stylistic themes and narratives.


The paintings on display demonstrated a sophisticated use of color and light, while catching the demanding cross current of primitive yet emotionally urgent brush strokes in other quadrants of the canvas. I wondered if the variations in stylistic execution were intentional, part of the philosophical arch of the collection, or was this theme a projection of the subconscious? The unavoidable saunter of the duality of humanity: we are apart and as a whole a glittering macabre mosaic of good and evil, beautiful and repulsive, intellectual and oblivious.

Raul’s paintings, heavy with symbolism, more surreal than abstract, more gestural than explicit, are images that evoke implication rather than testament, which leaves room for uninhibited individual interpretation, which is what we may all need in our lives.


While I did meet the artist, I didn’t get into a deep of a conversation about the “truth” of his art. Given the vast consciousness

of Raul's work, maybe the point would have been moot anyway.


As an empath, I was too concerned with whether or not the artist wanted to be asked about his work or not.


I shied away from layering my academic musings into the moment, and instead helped myself to another glass of wine and some sort of multi-grain rice cracker with tomatillo dip, and retired to the porch to take notes and admire the golden light of late summer seeping through the what will be the last sight of green for another two seasons of change.




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