BENJAMIN DEGEN: Procession
Closing Date10 April 2020
Please note, all proceeding text is NOT METAPHORICAL, ONTOLOGICAL OR SPIRITUAL:
Procession depicts the horizon line and the appearance of clouds in procession to the vanishing point, that is to say: wisps of vapor proceeding to the point where everything vanishes. The horizon line is a reflection of the viewer- quite literally- the horizon is a projection of the viewer’s eye level. The vanishing point is a projection of the point where the viewer's focal point meets on this eye-level line (basically, where the viewer's nose is pointing). The horizon line represents a limit: all that lies between the viewer and the horizon line is observable, all that lies beyond this line is not. The fact that the clouds continue over the horizon intimates that something exists beyond the limits of the viewer's current observable reality. As the clouds “disappear” over the horizon, we understand that they are not actually disappearing because of our understanding of object permanence (the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, heard, touched, smelled or sensed in any way.) This allows us to have faith in the continuance of space beyond the horizon. The clouds may allow the viewer to understand a continuance of perception beyond the limits of their physical senses. There are two distinct focal points in Procession. There is the vanishing point, as I have discussed, and then there is the light source: the moon. Just as the perception of space is created by the moment of convergence of the vanishing point, all light in the picture is created by the moment of convergence of the light source (moon.) The vanishing point sets up spatial recession. Sometimes this feeling of recession is felt as motion: it is can be felt as space opening away from us towards the horizon. It can also be felt as space rushing towards us from the horizon. Sometimes it can feel, paradoxically, like both motions at once ie: train tracks. I think that light is usually felt uni-directionally: as emanating from the source. Moonlight, though is a special case- as the light from the moon is reflected light, sometimes it feels like it is being emanated from my surroundings on earth and moving up towards the sky. This pull of the moon is not only the pull of light against its reflection. The moon’s mass pulls on the earth- it is the gravity of the moon that moves the oceans and creates tides. The picture Procession is about all of these things as much as it is about the way clouds can sit at a continuous altitude as if set on a piece of glass that runs beyond the horizon, and how this looks lit by the moon. The title Procession comes from the theological term.
Benjamin Degen, 2020