The Seat of Mind

Ranelle Dial

August 17, 2010 - September 10, 2011

Gallery 2

The head is what primarily distinguish each person from the other, particularly the face with their physiognomic topography of nose ridges, eye sockets, cheekbones, wrinkles, warts, moles and all. It is the eminent form of recognition founded on the brain’s predisposition towards discriminating human forms. From the infancy stage, humans are already biologically programmed to recognize subtle differences in anthropic facial features. However in Ranelle Dial’s The Seat of Mind series, the head is rendered generic by being shown only the back views of her sitters’ shaved heads. It is not so much as a portrait as a portrait is a highly individuated iconic representation of the sitter’s persona replete with the accoutrements of his own material fashioning of his own personhood through clothes and props that hint at his social status, ideally at the apex of his self-realized actualization. (This is as true especially of formal portraiture.) Rather Dial’s paintings are a form of taxonomy in revealing in her “portraits” the subtle differences of anatomical topography, the small bumps that inundate the slope and contour of each sitter’s stubbly cranium. As an extension of her previous series (Mind Mapped) which took off from the obsolete science of phrenology which predicates an individual’s destiny on their cranial physiognomy, she rather extrapolates on generalities and commonalities to make for a comparative analysis of these permutations of a single form, bringing to fore the core of cognition and rationality that make up what being human is.