I decided to publish this short commentary on a masterpiece, Rooftops,” that I viewed recently. I choose to publish it here on my psychoanalytic web-site because it illustrates the power of the psychoanalytic model. The short critique below is an example of applied psychoanalysis.
The modern psychoanalytic method is used to develop understanding. By training the mind to use perspective with both a logical and a subjective view of the object, be that object person, place or thing, analysis allows for us to reach for deeper, or higher concepts of sight and insight. I will publish this same critique on my “Writing With Light” blog.
“rooftops” is demanding to be interpreted. Yet it communicates only silence. In that silent darkness there is a soul boiling over with unrevealed heat. It erupts into consciousness the way a volcano erupts onto a landscape to create hills and mountains. Your eyes are following a lava stream of light to the top of the painting. You enter at the bottom or near the center, and the painting moves your eyes gruelingly, slowly to the only sign of life at the top.
The painting draws you in. It seems to depict the struggle of the “equalities of poverty.” Whoever lives in that cubist village is at oneness with the village. On close examination we see subtle distinctions; but it barely implies a distinction between life and death.
The structures could be monuments in a cemetery as easily as a run-down township, filled with semi-lifeless organisms that have no sensations except that of scraping their bellies on the ground-down dust of an industrial township anywhere in the world.
Regardless of how you approach this painting, you are instinctively struck by a juxtaposition of indexes. Colors, values, tonality and structure all combine to form a oneness. There are no individuals in the painting; there is no life in the painting. The sense of entrapment is depicted by black, and you only see light where the encrusted blackness of smog and time is scrapped off.
Matt J. Cutter is a genius. In this piece titled “rooftops,” the work of art has a mission of its own; but that wonderful anywhere-in-the-world location, that sepia & cream, gem of a masterpiece has a creator. I am imagining a gentle depth of spirit and sense of oneness with the world must emanates from the artist in order for the work to be able to stand on its own and make such a stately comment about the place of “Everyman” in our world. It is easy for a pretty painting to convey the emotions of joy. It is an entirely different subject for a painting to explore the darker elements of life and still remain a beautiful work of art.
I am impressed with the emerging themes of the unconscious. The primitive location in humankind where our cells call upon us to visit with our instincts, (regardless of how vulgar and how un-mainstream those instincts are), is not just a part of this painting, these pre-verbal instincts are the painting.
There are many ways that this painting draws you in. In Psychoanalysis we use a French word “Gaze”* that implies a sort of looking into each other’s eyes. This painting looks back at you.
I find that this work speaks to me of the unconscious helplessness of the masses. It could be Winnie Mandela’s Africa, or Gay Ghetto’s in Paris, or the plight of the steel worker in Ohio, or a tin-top and cinder- block village in South America. It is the darkness of the underbelly of mankind that is depicted here. However the painting creates light and hope by essentially and literally scraping back the darkness.
There is no source of light in the painting, no reflective light. Whatever hope there is must be intentionally and deliberately pealed back by scraping away the darkness. It is rare to see a work depicting the under-belly of our cities and still retain its capacity to convey beauty. The Gallery where this master work currently hangs is listed as a URL below. I have permission from the artists to include a small photo of this exquisite mono-tone.
I decided to publish this short commentary on my psychoanalytic web-site because it illustrates the power of the psychoanalytic model. The short critique above is an example of applied psychoanalysis. The modern psychoanalytic method is used to develop understanding. By training the mind to use perspective with both a logical and a subjective view of the object, be that object person, place or thing, analysis allows for us to reach or deeper, or higher concepts of sight and insight
As always I would love to hear your comments or questions. It is rare that a particular work of art produces the kind of heart-felt emotion, and I am very happy to be sharing my thoughts with you.