Here, Brandon Ballengee, artist and scientist, collaborates with communities around the world to bring awareness of environmental change. His source is the iconic feature of ancient civilizations, the pond. Ballengee's research follows the phenomena of mutation in the amphibian populations worldwide. Then, he uses his skill as an artist to create awareness of this biological variance, focusing his audience's attention on environmental transformation.
- Jeanne Iris
- Current: Danbury, CT, United States
- Welcome! A few years ago, I discovered an application that artists employ in their works to bring cultural awareness to their audiences. Having discerned this semiotic theory that applies to literature, music, art, film, and the media, I have devoted the blog, "Theory of Iconic Realism" to explore this theory. The link to the publisher of my book is below. If you or your university would like a copy of this book for your library or if you would like to review it for a scholarly journal, please contact the Edwin Mellen Press at the link listed below. Looking forward to hearing from you!
To view my page on the Edwin Mellen Press website, please click below:
12 November, 2014
28 October, 2014
I pace upon the battlements and stare
On the foundations of a house, or where
Tree like a sooty finger, starts from the earth;
and send imagination forth
Under the day’s declining beam, and call
Images and memories
From ruin or from ancient trees,
For I would ask a question of them all.
(“The Tower II,” ll. 18-25) 
Here, Yeats places himself in the midst of the Tower, the earthen icon of the human soul. Born of the ancient source of all life, this soul’s power rests in the simplicity of a child’s voice, echoing for the “blind man’s joy.” This simplicity is so powerful that “certain men, be[come] maddened by those rhymes,” (l. 42) a magnificent union of the duality existent in imagination and reality.
To further illustrate this duality, Yeats incorporates the iconic representation of “The Great Memory” to signify the reality of human consciousness. The speaker is out of control while at the same time, he is in control, “Come old, necessitous, half-mounted man;/And bring beauty’s blind rambling celebrant” (ll. 91-2). This ambivalence, accented with alliteration, leads to Yeats’s revelation that from chaos comes order and from dissonance, consonant harmony. He continues with his reference to human consciousness with an allusion to his recurrent swan’s song: “When the swan must fix his eye/ Upon a fading gleam, /Float out upon a long/Last reach of glistening stream/And there sing his last song” (ll. 141-45).
The central theme of this poem is the realization of life’s paradox that art is both illusion and ideal. When Yeats reveals through the alliteration and rapid meter of “Man makes a superhuman/Mirror-resembling dream” (ll.165-66), he draws upon his references of the Easter Uprising and WWI in which reality of life recreates itself through the restructuring of chaos.
Yeats’s iconic-bucolic imagery of singing birds in the introductory and concluding lines of “The Tower” reinforce his message of universal harmony that echoes throughout the sphere of life’s transformations. His final lines, “Seem but the clouds of the sky/When the horizon fades,/ Or a bird’s sleepy cry/ Among the deepening shades” (ll.193-96), indicate his reconciliation of life, art, Ireland and reality. It is not by accident that this poem leads directly to “Meditations in Time of Civil War.”
In “The Tower,” Yeats illustrates the necessity for humanity to acknowledge the reality of life’s paradox and to nurture human consciousness with eyes wide open to human frailties as well as the glorious harmony of creative endeavor.
 Yeats, William Butler. The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats. (Hertfordshire, G.B.: Wordsworth Editions, Ltd., 2000)
 Lakatos, Jeanne. The Theory of Iconic Realism: Understanding the Arts through Cultural Context. New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2008, pp. 54-55.
28 April, 2014
Portrait of Emily Dickinson painted by William Rock
Chinese calligraphy painted by Huang Xiang
Click HERE to go to their site.
(calligraphy is from Dickinson's "The Soul selects Her Own Society,"
"My Life Closed Twice Before Its Close" and "Presentiment") by Emily Dickinson
The soul selects her own society,
Then shuts the door;
On her divine majority
Obtrude no more. Unmoved, she notes the chariot's passing
At her low gate;
an emperor kneeling
Upon her mat. I've known her from an ample nation
Then close the valves of her attention
Like stone. I never saw a Moor
My life closed twice before its close;
It yet remains to see
If immortality unveil
A third event to me, So huge, so hopeless to conceive,
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.
is that long shadow on the lawn
Indicative that sun goes down
The notice to the startled grass
That darkness is about to pass
By displaying the countenance of this reclusive poet in the midst of so many cultural icons, these two artists, Huang Xiang and William Rock, illustrate iconic realism of Emily Dickinson's poetry. In this painting by William Rock and the calligraphic representation by Huang Xiang, the iconic presence of Emily Dickinson's simplicity in connection with this honorable position illustrates her impact on human consciousness and the importance for humanity to look inward. Indeed, through her darkness, enlightenment has come to many. The use of blue and purple bring to mind the spirituality that surrounds this poet's expression: in her eyes, around the 'upper floor' of her mind and in her heart.
Chrysler Corp. Ad, "Imported from Detroit," and Iconic Realism (Click onto this title to view the ad.)
photo from Google images
"This is the Motor City, and this is what we do," states the singer, Eminem, in the Chrysler Corp. commercial aired for the first time during Super Bowl XLV. In this commercial, a narrator defines luxury while the audience views a montage of iconic images of Detroit, Michigan, the "Motor City."
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, where my father worked as a paint chemist for Chrysler, I must say that I was pretty proud of those images. Positive images juxtaposed with affirmative statements illustrate a contrary point of view to that which the current world media has presented of the Motor City. This use of iconic realism brings into focus the cultural reality of the U.S. automotive industry and the possibilities associated with innovation and perseverance in any community.
And what vehicle to I drive? Why, a Jeep Liberty, of course!
03 June, 2013
a bee flies wistfully
nectar-gathering for the hive.
a butterfly shares the space
of time and floral beauty,
collecting heavenly nourishment.
The lavender grows more alluring
to its insect guests.
As I view this treasured scene
of serenity and industry,
I am compelled
to make a difference
© Jeanne I. Lakatos