A cornfield at sunset in Danbury, CT

A cornfield at sunset in Danbury, CT

The Photograph:

A cornfield at sunset in Danbury, CT


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


27 September, 2016

Natural Equality and Iconic Realism

I took this photo in Coole Park, County Galway, Ireland

In his Second Treatise of Government, John Locke states, "People are born in a state of perfect equality, where naturally there is no superiority or jurisdiction of one over another." If one were to gaze upon the photograph I have posted above, a sense of this equality exists within the natural balance of the trees' trunks, for they vividly reflect the underground root system, the source of their immensely visual structures.

This illustrates the existence of iconic realism in the natural world in that it is unusual to see a tree's trunk and branches specifically revealing the source of its power. Usually, one would have to dig beneath the surface to see this, but as I walked beneath the branches of these enormous evergreens, I could almost feel the life force surging from the unseen root systems below my feet.

What does this reveal in a cultural sense? Those leaders that become the most powerful, whether in government, business, education or the arts, acknowledge the source of their power exists within the individuals who contribute to the root of their successful endeavors, originating from that which flourishes from below the surface.

23 September, 2016

Structure and Interpretation

Photo of The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci, found from Google Images

However an audience incorporates and assimilates information gained from perceiving a work of art, each member of the audience will structure the information in order to create interpretation. The wide scope of interpretation evolves with the audience's perception of the art form, which characterizes the multiple associations within a singular work of art. 
For example, the interpretation of Mona Lisa's eyes from each subsequent century since her debut has rested on her ambivalent countenance. Although content remains fixed, the historicity of the audience determines the variety of interpretations of any work of art. (Lakatos 19)

18 September, 2016

Harmony of the Spheres and Iconic Realism

Photo from Google Images: DancingSky_HarmonyOfTheSpheres.jpg

I took these photographs in Ireland, June 2009.

The following is an excerpt from a paper I presented at the Mid-Atlantic Conference for Irish Studies, in 2007: 

Human beings have an inherent need to interact with one another. Yet, they often find themselves struggling with what appears to be the truth of their perceptions. This ambivalence leads to the categorizing of experiences as a way to manage personal reactions. Philosophers, such as John Locke, Immanuel Kant and Carl Jung, as well as mathematicians, such as Pythagoras and Kepler, have clarified this management in terms of music, more specifically, the mystical music of the spheres.

This concept illustrates that human communication parallels strict mathematical components associated with harmonics. To clarify the concept of harmony (music) of the spheres, one can consider a musical tone that contains the original resonating frequency with overtones creating precise harmonic variations.

Pythagoras’s theory contained the idea that there was a distinct mathematical configuration, establishing a relationship of the harmonic distances between the planets. These harmonics were considered the substance of a planetary influence on the human psyche. Centuries later, Johannes Kepler clarified this theory with his discovery that harmonic energy emanates from the sun, and there exists an exact harmonic relationship between each planet. Philosophers of the eighteenth century, such as John Locke and Immanuel Kant, connect Kepler’s theory to the concept of human consciousness.

Thus, music of the spheres represents the harmonics of human thought whereby one idea, emanating from a human being, extends to another throughout the centuries, and overtones or nuances of thought create a new harmonic of the original conception. This new harmonic, then, resonates with another interpretation, and soon, there are many new concepts formed that connect with the original resonating thought.

Although this concept illustrates that human communication parallels strict mathematical components associated with harmonics, iconic realism is a literary principle whereby an artist uses an iconic, yet real figure to represent another aspect of reality within the culture. This principle clearly resonates throughout literature as a means to express truth in a way that contains meaning while maintaining elements of the mysterious. Indeed, iconic realism intones throughout Sydney Owenson’s national tale, The Wild Irish Girl, written from a feminine cultural point of view shortly after the British Act of Union 1801.

Sydney Owenson engages in the construction of iconic realism through her interface with the concept of literary harmony elicited from the initial resonance of Irish revolution. She creates characters as iconic representatives of the consciousness that exists in her historical reality, leading her audiences to a recognizable semblance of truth and a basis for future writers to harmonize with the transitioning, historical significance of human consciousness.

Such resonance, which distinguishes between intense reality and strength of the human spirit through iconic realism, occurs in Owenson’s novel, demonstrating the necessity for humankind to relate to one another on a realistic rather than a symbolic level. As she reacts to her despotic environment, Owenson’s technique of using iconic structures in allegorical representations of Irish reality resonates through such 20th century writers as William Butler Yeats and James Joyce. (Lakatos 2007)

13 September, 2016

Semiotic Themes and Iconic Realism (Click onto this title to view Billie Holiday singing 'Strange Fruit.')

Oblinski's Apples from Google Images

Fallen Apple
I am the fallen apple.
Ripe with ardor,
I drop from provisional support
and roll into fertile mire
of fecundity, ignominy.
I’ll not rot in isolation.  
by Jeanne I. Lakatos

"A musical composition contains a specific theme. This theme can then repeat every time a musician performs the piece. However, the theme will elicit variations based on instrumentation, acoustics, and musicians actively attempting to recreate the original sound. A new aural thematic expression results from this interpretation. Likewise, a work of art will receive the eyes of multiple viewers. Each person adapts his/her life experience to the interpretation of the rendered artistic theme, thus altering the original thematic construct of the artist. Hence, a theme is in a constant state of evolution, no matter which art form has been presented" (Lakatos 20).

The poignant lyrics in the song, "Strange Fruit," sung by Billie Holiday, words of my poem, "Fallen Apple," and the painting, "Oblinski's Apples" all deal with a specific segment of the human population who has had to deal with human rights issues. Each work of art can be interpreted differently, but the messages are obvious. I'll let you decide those for yourself.

03 September, 2016

Walt Whitman's "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" and Iconic Realism

Ader 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 tim
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.