Roya Farassat, from Menagerie Series, 2012-13.
I have consistently observed how artists are fascinated by the models of antiquity, and how they each in their own way engage with the iconology of the past as a means of creating the future. Cumulatively they fill the current historical moment with a wealth of imagery culled from the depth and breadth of their personal influences, their passion for figure, form, color, and detail, and their perspective on how the past builds the present with the future always a sidelong glance. Making work that is both historically significant, idiosyncratic enough to be considered a personal signature, and accruing meaning in a contemporary context are all part of the appeal of such work. Establishing the appeal of timeless genres such as narrative or iconological representation that are inherently mythical, either in a scene or the depiction of an effigy or symbol, collaged, drawn, etc
The artist has repeatedly been caricatured as a sneering rebel, living an existence parallel to but remarkably different from everyday society. What truly differentiates the artist from others is their ability to penetrate the fabric of the real or the normal and perceive its connection to myriad influences, many of which can only be found by looking into the past. So much has been made, via Modernism, of the concept that the artist just necessarily be concerned with, as Ezra Pound said, "making it new," that what is left unobserved in their cumulative oeuvres is where their influences, and their very specific affinities, originate. Each of us brings a legacy from our background to bear upon our aspirations and accomplishments. But the artist is able to look beyond personal drives to seed the field of imagination with subjects and methods that set them apart from other creative individuals. The ferment of communal or epochal values leads each one through a labyrinth of means versus ends.