This is a difficult post to write. As many of you know, I began this blog as a continuation of my efforts to define my relationship with my older autistic brother. Mike is very low functioning as well as profoundly retarded. For 11 months I posted about what it was like for me as a sibling; my efforts to understand Mike through my photography; neuroscience related to autism; philosophy of mind, and so on.
I hadn’t seen Michael in years until this past November (2013), the day before his 64th birthday. I had been eagerly anticipating the reunion. My mother and younger brother would be there, the remainder of my original family. I was so disappointed by the fact that Mike didn’t seem to recognize any of us. I felt like all my efforts to understand him were for naught.
Shortly after our visit to Mike, I shifted the focus of my blog to concentrate on artistic expression (mainly visual) of inner thoughts or states of mind. I wondered if there is a way to express one’s self without engaging one’s intellect. I explored the idea that, in the visual arts, the artist must make conscious decisions. For example, painters must decide what colors to use; photographers must decide how to frame a shot. I entertained the idea that there is a state of creative consciousness that an artist inhabits, which enables an unlinking of the intellect from the act of creating.
During the past few weeks, after my shift in concentration from autism to self expression, I posted some of my watercolor experiments. I had fun playing with different ideas: 1) watercolor and impasto techniques; 2) preserved white space; 3) painting white spaces with complimentary colors.
The hard part
I seems that, during the past few weeks of looking into abstract expressionism, my subconscious mind must have lingered on my disappointing experience with my brother. That experience has dredged up long forgotten feelings – not memories of how I must have felt back in my childhood, but feelings I am now experiencing. Strong feelings. Negative feelings.
The watercolor below had several inspirations: 1) the idea that my brother had such a great impact on my life; 2) the thought that my personality was shaped in an environment where my brother required all the attention; 3) the idea that I sustained a fatal injury as a child as a result of my reaction to my brother’s presence, that hasn’t killed me yet; 4) Dexter, the TV show.