Hidden Mind

Denise  Kupferschmidt

Denise Kupferschmidt, Brooklyn, New York

Scientists call it the “hidden mind” – the one we aren’t aware of. The one directing our actions without our express consent.  Walking around, waving Pinocchio arms and legs, with a hidden brain tugging the strings.

Denis Kupferschmidt highlights this powerful murky mind in her work. She sculpts with black,  drawing the figures out of darkness, out of night.  With deft fingers she plays on its social and cultural meaning to thrust this figure into ambiguous motion. In dance, soaring joyfully. In flight, running for its life.

Did you know hockey teams in black jerseys draw more penalties? They spend an average of two more minutes per game in the penalty box, 10% more than other colors. In football, more penalties. Black wins and loses games. Our hidden brain associates black with bad.   (Empirical studies, peer-reviewed.) The devil didn’t make you do it, black did. Yikes.

Black slinks back to primal, when fire and idols ruled us. Why is our little black dress so sexy? Because black means trouble, a smoky seduction. Why does the SWAT team bust in black-clad? Because black conjures fear. Batman just couldn’t be Batman in grey.

This figure is a bird;  it is human. It delves under contemplation and soars deep into our animal brain. Whispering that after all these centuries, we are still afraid of the dark.

Oh Joy.

If you’re a nerd, slow jam on these:




Firefly datenight

Andrew Taylor Outside:San Fernando Night 2, courtesy of Heather James fine art, Palm Springs California

I love when an artist attempts the night and does it well, because the use of black in painting can be so dire and funerary. Here, the sable backdrop is sophisticated and sharp. Bravo!  The obvious lack of middle ground in this painting I find quite intriguing. The artist purposefully blurs the distant image, one that would ordinarily be framed by the branches in the foreground.  But we can’t see it. Instead he pans on soft focus to the  intricate branches at the front edge of our vision. A gentle reminder that we often don’t see what we are looking at. Our personal filters obscuring observation.

The shimmering flowers are slightly abstracted. Fireflies breeze through the branches. The otherworldly feeling intensifies as your eye follows the maze of lines that intertwine and cross, here and there, over and under, in the random play of nature. Entrancing.

The magical nocturne of this moment captivates us. We listen to the night; its rustling and cricketing. We stop and focus on the diminutive, quiet moment, monumental for its breathless simplicity. We walk though the hours in a torrentially informed techno-cloud. Taylor draws us back to an elemental, even molecular level of nature.  These scenes, small building blocks of tranquility. Flowing up and down the spines of the branches, nerve endings afire. In a night full of breath.