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Roberta Allen: What is Real?    


In this series of collages, I contrast physical facts with facts of consciousness. Most often we think of “real” as that which exists in the world; an actual “thing,” as opposed to that which exists only in the mind. Here, I create an interplay by combining words and objects to question “meaning” in the mind of the viewer.

“Facts” of consciousness include emotions, opinions, beliefs, concepts, ideas, notions; those that are personal and those that are culturally implanted. Fear, for example, is a fact of consciousness. Things may cause fear. A tree has a definite form but fear does not.

Here, I play with meaning by asking the viewer to reflect upon private experience. Words can only stand for or represent subjective states of our internal worlds. In combination with words, found objects--occasionally ambiguous--are not intended to be illustrative: rather, my intention is that they call to mind internal states.

This series is an outgrowth and expansion of preoccupations that began in 1980 with a series called “The Fear Drawings” (image with text) and progressed in two series of photo collages combined with captions, called “Relative Truths” and “Relative Truths II” from 1989-1992. Since 1971, I have used verbal labels to suggest alternate meanings of common signs that are just as true as the accepted ones--in particular, the arrow and “pointless arrow”--in works that range from artist books to museum installations.

www.robertaallen.com/Roberta_Allen/Roberta_Allen_NYC-Books-Art-Writers_Workshops.html

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