Deception in the Eyes of a Painter
Can artistry mislead and deceive? Can art deceive the artist? Kalisto Bancroft explores what deception means in the artistic world.
What is deception? Being deceived can mean, well, a great many things. According to definition to deceive is to “mislead by a false appearance or statement; delude”.
But to portray deception, to really define it, you need to be on the receiving end of deceit. And of course, deception can come in alternative forms. Adultery, lying, fraud- they all fall under the hard line of deceit. But what about contextually, visually, within the structural composition that is art? Can artistry mislead and deceive? Why of course it can; painters, performers, illusionists- they can deceive the public via the form of an enigma. They can encourage you to witness something that is non-existent.
But can art deceive the artist? Perhaps. Perhaps more so than expected. As an art student and abstract expressionist painter I believe my artwork, the abstract imagery I produce, can deceive me via an impressionable perspective. The way the colours emit an emotion can sometimes defy the meaning of the painting, in what was believed to be a shade of dismissal turns out to be a tone of confusion. I will pick a selection of three primary colours and produce a secondary colour without even thinking, believing I am creating an image of unawareness in abstraction. And yet, when I see the final artwork, all I see are colours, brushstrokes, that must have required a thought process of some heedless kind. My paintings deceive me in a sense of reckless objectivity and neutrality.
Deception can influence an artist’s work through disinterestedness, making one imagine that they are producing a work of art that signifies a feeling of absence, and yet you look back at it later on, only to see a nonsensical image of not absence but a formation of mental objects, that determine the artist had a thought process throughout the production of the entire artwork.
Now I don’t blame you if this might sound a little confusing. I’m a little confused myself. But then again as an artist, I imagine confusion can aid profusely in the creation of all things artistic. Do not be deceived by confusion. Confusion can be good for the mind. Confusion forces you to solve problematic situations, gives you the need to make sense of things that do not make sense. To be deceived into thinking confusion is a weakness is deceit in itself. You see? Deception can work alternatively.
In the eyes of a painter, to be deceived by their own artwork is to be deceived by themselves. How they made their work of art constitutes their thought process (or at least most of my paintings do) which is abundantly interesting when you see the final result of their creation. You look up at the art piece, sit in front of it and think ‘how did they make that? What does it mean? Do the colours convey anger?’ Then it turns out the colours do not represent anger but in fact convey an amusing anecdote that led to the painting in question. That’s deception…
Artwork by Kalisto Bancroft.