No. 2 The Gaze
It’s like breathing. We do it constantly, everyday. We look at things, we look at each other, we look into space, and we look into ourselves. If we belong to the lucky majority who posses the ability of sight, we can’t fathom life without it. And just like breathing, every once in a while we notice ourselves doing it. The eyes linger, and all of the other senses and motor skills fade, even just for an instant, and it happens—the gaze.
As you walk the halls of a museum, you will see many works of art that you like and probably just as many that you dislike. You take a few seconds to view the Hoppers, move on to the Kandinskys, and spend a little more time with the Picassos. However, it’s not until you spot Georges Seurat’s La Grande Jatte that you really stop to look. In a sea of Parisians, a little girl with her mother looks out at you, with an eternal stare. You look back and connect. Is she the subject of your gaze, or are you the object of hers? You try to figure out the pattern; you contemplate the painting so closely that it has begun to deconstruct into the million tiny dots it is comprised of. You are locked in a moment with this piece of art.
We look for a gaze within a work of art such as we do in life. A look can say more than a word; eye contact, or lack thereof, can hold a myriad of meanings. While crossing the street, or holding an elevator door, you may find yourself sharing a silent moment with a stranger, meeting eyes and exchanging smiles. Or you watch someone across from you on the bus and withdraw your sights quickly and sheepishly when they look up. Even in moments of solitude we can be caught in the gaze. A focused introspective thought can give us an observation of ourselves, or a long hike can be rewarded with a breathtaking view of a vast landscape. Whether voyeuristic or engaged, the gaze holds a true power.
James Exley was born and raised on the east coast of Florida, but spent the last decade in the midwest. He likes simplicity. And guacamole. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peter Frederiksen lives and works in Chicago. See more at pefrederiksen.blogspot.com or contact Peter at email@example.com.
Max Hudetz draws and sometimes paints. He will receive his BFA from UIC in 2011. When he isn’t running or arting, he is sleeping. At the time of this writing, his socks have dogs on them. From time to time he posts drawings or what-have-you’s at Makejax.blogspot.com.
Santiago Martinez is a Joliet native and graduated from Columbia College Chicago in the field of fiction writing. He is inspired by poverty, neurosis, psychosis, and the contradictory nature of humans. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jaclyn Santos is a New York based artist and recent competitor on Bravo’s Work of Art. More of her work can be found at www.jaclynsantos.com.
Justin Schmitz is a Chicago based photographer. More of his work can be found at www.justinschmitzphotography.com.
Garrett Seelinger is graduate student of English Literature at the University of Notre Dame who uses writing to express his developing thoughts about books, travel, and the world. Garrett can be reached at email@example.com.
Raychel Stine is an artist residing in Chicago and Texas. She is best known for her paintings featuring dogs in dangerous, humorous, and intimate situations. She received an MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a BFA from The University of Texas at Dallas, and she is currently a visiting artist in residence and lecturer for the 2010-2011 academic year at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth. Additional information can be found at www.raychaelstine.com.