My work is a challenge to the viewer’s understanding of human interaction and the varying degrees of emotional engagement. Through deliberate neutrality in expression, I create conflict within the viewer during their conscious and subconscious attempts at emotional interpretation. Through a series of portraits with divided emphasis between posture and eye contact, I invite and dismiss interactive engagement. Through posture that refuses to acknowledge or make eye contact with the viewer I vicariously repel the viewer and deny participation in the work. In a similar yet opposite way I also confront the viewer through an uncomfortable forced encounter with eye contact that deliberately breaches the viewer’s personal space. The two-dimensional surface denies escape until the viewer has left the room.
I put the responsibility of extracting significance upon the viewer as a challenge to look introspectively and uncover personal meaning. I set the stage, and I control the interaction, but the viewer finishes the work and adds the content. I provide only enough information for the viewer to fill in the gaps and create their own meaning or story. Other than my personal interpretation of the subject, my paintings do not themselves contain a particular idea, but are designed to promote individual and unique application. Rather than assigner of concept, I am a facilitator for meaning.
That a certain pose, composition, or lighting causes a person to feel any particular way about my work reveals that individual’s unique perspective, biases, and distortions of perception that change only the observation of the work. During this process the painting itself remains unchanged and individually significant to someone else. I press the viewer to internalize their understanding of human connection and learn something new about the way they view the world that they may discover more about themselves than the work.
Daniel Sorensen received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Brigham Young University-Idaho and a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Idaho. He developed his passion for painting through drawing from observation and painting from life. He has refined his ability to capture the world around him and attempts to capture a likeness of the subject while employing quality and craftsmanship as a vehicle of exploration.