Artwork By Mike Lewis

Vanishing Points Series

Vanishing Points
No. 4
Vanishing Points
No. 1
A Deeply
Satisfying Fear
No. 1
Path to
Vanishing Points
No. 7

The Vanishing Points series is my newest direction (starting in 2003). There are several themes and image sets coming together in this body of work, leading me to believe that it will be some time before I can put it all in perspective. Perspective itself seems to be part of this investigation, playing an important role in the structure of many of these pieces, and more importantly, serving as a metaphor for the infinite progress of time and change and even consciousness. In visual perspective the vanishing point is a fixed position on the horizon. It is the point where parallel lines appear to meet. And the horizon itself may also serve as a metaphor: the limits of seeing imply the limits of knowing. The vanishing point is the point beyond which we cannot see or know. Perhaps these are images from beyond that point.

Another limit to seeing and knowing is the veil of darkness. The black of night obscures, and yet the stark contrast of black against white forms the binary basis of all seeing and knowing. The works in the Vanishing Points series, like so much of my art, are predominately black and white, not so much by conscious choice, but by instinct. This series marks a return to the domination of black and white over color and all the emotional implications thereof.

One of the choices I struggle with on so many pieces is whether to introduce color or stay with black and white. When I start with paint and color the results can be so emotionally rewarding. Color itself evokes empowering emotions: passions, desires, awe, excitement or tranquility. Black and white, it seems, evokes feelings of mystery and fear - fear of foreboding futures and haunted pasts. Perhaps it is different with other artists, but when I begin with black and white, whether I am applying paint or collaging photo-copies, the mood of the piece usually turns melancholy, noir-ish and gothic.

Black and white vision alone operates in the darkness. Probably it predates color vision in the evolutionary history of eyes. In any event it seems closer to the subconscious and to the mythical than color vision. Color vision draws us outside of ourselves into the sensual world, while black and white vision comes to us privately in dreams and in the loneliness of dark places.