Almost since I began painting, I had the feeling that I wanted my work to represent something that was not only my expression of myself, but something to which the view could relate. I wanted my paintings to arouse feelings whether they be happy, sad or nostalgic.
I wanted my paintings to have a message. I still do, but certainly not all of my paintings could be said to be metaphoric unless you consider a simple flower to be representative of something other than natural beauty or new beginnings. After all, Georgia O’Keeffe’s flowers were just that.
The word that comes to mind for me is that I was attracted to and had the desire to paint metaphors. The dictionary defines metaphor as something that is being used to represent something else, perhaps an emblem or a symbol. Some obvious, some not.
“The function of a metaphor in art, whether in painting, sculpture, or writing, is generally to evoke a certain feeling or thought in one who reads or witnesses the work. Metaphors use symbolism and comparisons to strengthen a point, and they may also act to represent certain ideas or thoughts. Visual metaphors may be obvious or abstract, depending on the artist’s emotions, ideas or experiences.”
The exact meaning, if there is one, behind a visual metaphor in art seems to depend on the frame of mind and feelings of the artist who created the work. It also depends of the frame of mind of the viewer. Otherwise, the meaning is lost to all but the artist. In other words, a chair is just a chair.