As representations of something, not by direct perception

As explained in the previous chapters, imagery that is experienced mentally, rather than through external reality, has been described as ‘mental representations of something, not by direct perception but by memory or imagination. (Hackmann and Holmes, 2004, 390)’ Proceeding with other definitions; according to an article written by Nigel Thomas, ‘Mental imagery is a quasi-perceptual experience; it resembles perceptual experience but occurs in the absence of the appropriate external stimuli.’ (Thomas, 2014)’Very often, imagery experiences are understood by their subjects as echoes, copies, or reconstructions of actual perceptual experiences from their past; at other times they may seem to anticipate possible, often desired or feared, future experiences. (Thomas, 2014)’Hence, when thinking about mental imagery, visualities first comes to my mind, visualisations of echoes of something that is not present. This definition of mental imagery provides a basis for my painting process as well. At any rate, according to American philosopher Ned Block, mental imagery should be referring to a type ‘underlying representation’ because it has an advantage of not demanding the question of whether the relevant representations are picture-like. (Block, 1981) Based on the statements given in the previous chapters, the source of representation comes from our mental recollections. We could also say that such mental recollections are stored representations.

Therefore, these stored representations might be considered as pictorial images or descriptions of images of limited resolution. (Nicholas, 1977, 16) However, whether it is pictorial or descriptive, it is certain that the mental representation is different from the actual image in many ways. Nevertheless, in the context of this text, the term is based on a picture metaphor.

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Nigel Thomas also declares that there are several kinds of mental images such as illusory images, oneiric images, thought images, consecutive images, hallucination images, corporal images and eidetic images. From these different kinds of mental images, illusory and oneiric images relate to my art practice the most. I would like to briefly analyse these two kinds of mental images. An illusion is simply not perceiving things as they really are. Therefore, an illusory image could be defined as a misinterpretation of an external stimulus distorted by the one who perceives. Oneiric image, it is simply what dreams are made of.

(Thomas, 2014) Before the article ‘The Meaning of Dreams’ (1901) was written by Sigmund Freud, dreams were taken as a kind of temporary insanity conditioned when sleeping. Thus, Freud brought a new perspective to this matter in his article. In The Interpretation of Dreams, he revealed that the psychic state of the dream is the same as that which occurs during other states of psychic life.

(Freud, 2016, 778) To share an example from my painting process; I started doing sketches of empty interiors during the beginning of the second semester of my graduate studies when I had just moved out of the dormitory and settled into the studio. The days when I was not staying in the studio, I was at the hospital due to a family member’s situation. I was spending my days in big empty spaces with a lot to reflect on. My dreams merged into my daydreams and became my reality at that moment, so, I started doing sketches about them.

Before, my paintings had been composed of figures. However, during that period of my life, they seemed like artificial figures from magazines. Using figures in my paintings lost its meaning for me as I could no longer connect them with my process.

What I had been internally experiencing during the process of the painting below (Fig:3.), which I consider as the starting point for the series, showed itself in blue coloured walls on the canvas. The dreamlike colours and the false, illogical perspectives can be considered as visualized echoes of my internal representations of my indoor environment.


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