Autumnal Danbury, Connecticut

Autumnal Danbury, Connecticut

The Photograph:

Autumnal Danbury, Connecticut


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


14 October, 2015

Jeanne D'Arc and Iconic Realism

 Joan of Arc's Death at the Stake,                                       
 by Hermann Stilke (1803–1860)                            

     With Halloween and All Saints Day soon arriving,  I thought I'd post on my patron saint, Jeanne D'Arc. I've chosen two images of this saint, a painting and the cover of a video game to illustrate iconic realism.
     Images merge within this painting of Jeanne D’Arc to provide an interpretation that represents the presence of hope that humanity, with all its industry, will recognize the value in the temporal nature of innocence. Interpretation of this work of art may include a variety of perspectives to complement the number of viewers of the specific art. At this moment of perception, then, the artist and the viewer become collaborators.
     Once this cognitive collaboration between artist and viewer occurs, the cultural interpretation begins to transform into a collection of new perspectives, based on the historicity of the viewers. Nicholas Davey states, “Hermeneutic thought articulates the conviction that art does not represent (vorstellen), copy or falsify the given world but allows that which is within the world to present (darstellen) or actualize itself (verwirklichen) more fully.” [1] New perceptions of a creative work shape newly actualized interpretations of the original work of art, which eventually become accepted interpretations of a community. Once the community recognizes these interpretations, the iconic becomes a reality.
     Through the establishment of an iconic figure within the consciousness of the community, an artist can then place this icon in a new reality that the community does not accept as the normal setting for this iconic figure. This placement allows the artist to make a statement that brings awareness to the community’s consciousness of an aspect within its culture that may need some attention.

[1] Davey, Nicholas. “Hermeneutics and Art Theory.” A Companion to Art Theory. eds. Paul  Smith and Carolyn Wilde. (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002) 149.

Emily Dickinson and Iconic Realism

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

Calligraphy Translation:
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
Choose one;
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.

22 September, 2015

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg and Iconic Realism

But above the gray land and the spasms of bleak dust, which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic—their irises are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose. Evidently, some wild wag of an oculist set them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens, and then sank down himself into eternal blindness, or forgot them and moved away. But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days, under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Chapter 2

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby, the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg peer across the ‘dumping ground’ of American spirit. This example of iconic realism portrays eyes as the ‘windows of the soul’ of a country steeping in corruption and superficiality. Fitzgerald places these eyes on an old billboard, gazing across a field of forgotten possessions, bringing into focus awareness of America’s consciousness to be ever vigilant of the forefathers’ intentions of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’

13 August, 2015

The Tiny Hand of Samuel Armas

Photo from Google Images

In 1999, Michael Clancy captured on film the little hand of Samuel Armas, held here by Vanderbilt University Hospital surgeon, Dr. Joseph Bruner. The iconic element here is the hand of the human fetus, for it represents life, innocence, complete vulnerability. This is an excellent example of iconic realism in photography, for one would never think that the connection between a 21 week old human in the womb and a surgeon could physically take place in this manner. One cultural dilemma that this photograph reveals is the debate between abortion and the infant's right to life. Moreover, this photograph brings to mind the limitations and possibilities of medical science as well as the beauty in the touch of a human hand... from the womb... before birth!

30 June, 2015

Walt Whitman and Iconic Realism

Adler Planetarium Astronomy Museum, Art Institute of Chicago
When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer
by Walt Whitman
When I heard the learn'd astronomer,

When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide,
and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with
much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

In Walt Whitman's poem, "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer, the speaker leaves an astronomy lecture to step outside the fixed parameters of the building. Subsequently, this individual learns first hand of the beauty when viewing the same firmament of which the lecturer speaks but viewed simply with the naked eye in silence. By leaving the lecture, the speaker, with scientific information gained from the the astronomer's lecture inside, now enjoys the silent beauty with appreciated knowledge, but more importantly, with appreciation of the significance of the stars’ natural condition. 

This poem illustrates iconic realism in that the subject,  constellations in a contrived setting, brings the audience and the speaker in the poem to a recognition that education of natural phenomena includes the experience of the real connection between humanity with nature. 

I warmly thank the Art Institute of Chicago for purchasing a copy of my book, The Theory of Iconic Realism: Understanding the Arts through Cultural Context.