Danbury, Connecticut

Danbury, Connecticut

The Photograph:

Evergreens in Danbury, Connecticut







Introduction:

My Photo
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:

Thank you for visiting. I hope you will find the information insightful. ~ Jeanne Iris

xo

17 December, 2014

Sándor Liezen-Mayer's Painting, "St. Elisabeth of Hungary" and Iconic Realism


Sándor Liezen-Mayer
Saint Elisabeth of Hungary
Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

During the Christmas season, we see a lot of paintings depicting the birth of Jesus. As a woman of Hungarian ancestry (Lakatos is Hungarian for 'locksmith'), I was intrigued by this beautiful painting of St. Elisabeth of Hungary by Sandor Liezen-Mayer. Here, we see a Madonna-like figure and her infant child in a lowly state with Elisabeth extending her royal cloak to them.

 
An example of iconic realism, this painting illustrates the humility of the origins of Christian precepts and the balance of power when this humility extends from all levels of society. Liezen-Mayer does this through the variation of color, shading as well as interaction between the architecture and human figures. Tragically widowed at the age of 20, Szent Erzsébet devoted her short life to charitable works in Germany and Europe. She died in 1231, age 24. 

Frank Capra's 'It's a Wonderful Life' and Iconic Realism (Click this title to view bar scene from the film.)


Photo from Google Images: bar scene from film, It's a Wonderful Life

The 1946 film, It's a Wonderful Life, produced and directed by Frank Capra, illustrates iconic realism through the character of Clarence the angel. Here, an icon of virtue takes the good-hearted man, George Bailey, by the hand to show him the positive impact he has made on the consciousness of his hometown. 
This juxtaposition of the wealth in righteousness versus the poverty of the inane demonstrates how one individual's benevolent acts can positively affect the lives and ultimately the culture of a community. 

Charles Schulz's "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and Iconic Realism (Click onto title to view a scene.)


Photo from Google Images of Charles Schulz's A Charlie Brown Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles Schulz illustrates iconic realism in that Schulz creates a film in which children, independent of adult supervision, prepare a presentation of the meaning of Christmas. Through his humble choice of a tree, the character, Charlie Brown, demonstrates the seasonal message of hope and love while the other children learn that through collaboration they, too, are able to understand the profound seasonal message of tolerance and good will as they create a delightful celebration of Christmas.

May you all be blessed with a lovely Holiday season!

12 November, 2014

Brandon Balengee, Bioartist, and Iconic Realism (Click onto this title to see and hear Brandon Balengee discuss his research/art.)


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.

28 October, 2014

William Butler Yeats' "The Tower II" and Iconic Realism

I took this photograph of Thoor Ballylee, June 2009

 
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) [1]

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.


[1] Yeats, William Butler. The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats. (Hertfordshire, G.B.: Wordsworth Editions, Ltd., 2000)

[2] Lakatos, Jeanne. The Theory of Iconic Realism: Understanding the Arts through Cultural Context. New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2008, pp. 54-55.