Each of us is endowed with unique skills and I believe it is our duty to apply them. In high school I was good at algebra and was sometimes called “the metaphorical one.” These are my skills and applying them is what my artwork is about.

A setting can be viewed as a composition of certain basic types of elements: natural forms such as the sky, mountains, or a field; man-made structures such as cars and buildings; and figures such as trees, people, animals, or flowers. I assume that these elements of a setting express a common theme of abstract intent. I interpret them as variations of this theme and treat them as metaphors for each other.

Metaphors are equations. Each metaphor has a structure with basic component parts. I align the metaphors to reflect the reality of a particular theme, and then blend the component parts.

For example, abstract intent can be represented as a “flower” with “stem, leaf, and blossom” components. As variations of a common theme, all the elements of a setting become “flower” metaphors with those same components. Matching components can be blended and substituted for each other. I apply the algebra for this to produce a metaphorical harmony. Doing so requires a ruthless subjective commitment to the reality of the “flower versions.”

My goal is to stimulate a kind of “version vision” in which a surrogate reality is sustained by a rational means. Algebra is a rational tool that makes sense. At some point this metaphorical algebra makes complete sense. There is power when it does. Perhaps it takes a rational vehicle to exit a rational prison.

Les Barta



Les Barta's Resume

Artist Statement

A Metaphorical Algebra

©2009 Les Barta
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