The Photograph

Prayers for the fallen soldiers on this Memorial Day


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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!

Thank you for visiting. I hope you will find the information insightful. ~ Dr. Jeanne Iris
To view my page on the Edwin Mellen Press website, please click below:

24 May, 2017

Aesthetics, Richard Wagner and Iconic Realism

I took this photo in Limerick, Ireland.

Through the use of the semiotic theory of iconic realism, artists shape the consciousness of various aspects of culture, including education, history, business, and aesthetics whereby their works of art combine an iconic figure with a realistic setting that communicates an incompatibility with the accepted environment in which the audience commonly associates the iconic figure. Understanding the language presented through the art form, be it literary, visual or aural, the audience may respond with an emotional resistance as it perceives the iconic representation in this new realistic setting.

An example of iconic realism in a musical composition utilizing instrumentation is Wagner’s mythical composition, The Ring of the Nibelungs.  In this piece, Wagner represents various aspects of society through instrumental characterizations. As Eero Tarasti affirms, "the gods appear in the Ring not only as personifications of the elements of nature, for example, Loge as the god of fire, Donner the god of thunder etc, but also as a society, whose leader is Wotan." [1] His use of contrasting instrumentation throughout his opus reveals an intense desire to illustrate corruption within his society. Many filmmakers choose to accompany the drama of their themes utilizing the nineteenth century Wagner music. An example of such intense films is Apocalypse Now, which illustrates the corruption associated with war, in particular, the Vietnam War.
1. Tarasti, Eero. Myth and Music: A Semiotic Apporach to the Aesthetics of Myth in Music, especially that of Wagner, Sibelius and Stravinsky (Paris: Mouton, 1979) 177.  

21 May, 2017

Iconic Realism in Three Different Centuries of Art

A medieval depiction of Jean de Meun's Roman de la Rose (photo from Google Images)

 Pieter Breughel's painting, The Fall of Icarus (Photo from Google Images)

Salvador Dali's Rose (Photo from Google Images)

The above paintings, from top to bottom, illustration from medieval poem, Roman de la Rose, Breughel's Fall of Icarus and Dali's Rose, are examples of artistic renderings of this theory. The function of semiotic representation is the reflection of the society in which both the artist and the audience reside. However, the artistic rendering does not necessarily reflect the standard of that community, for the intention of the artist may well be to create a piece that jolts the audience into a need for a cultural change. This would be the reason for an artist employing the use of iconic realism, assisting the audience to become adroitly aware of that aspect of the culture with which they are familiar and its need for transformation.

In Jean de Meun's epylion, Roman de la Rose, a young man is attracted to a 'rose' representing a young woman. The iconic image is the rose, living in a guarded tower. This rose becomes the object of the young man's desire and purpose, but not until he first receives much advice from wise allegorical characters on how to win her heart. The realistic environment in which this wild rose lives illustrates that creating a fortress around those natural impulses only causes the impulse within one's heart to become more instinctively determined.  

In Pieter Breughel's painting, The Fall of Icarus, the spirit of rebellion reveals young Icarus, falling into the sea while the local community turns their attention away from his plight. Here, the self-absorbed society's rejection of the obvious need illustrates a necessity for humanity to attend to others' frailties when they are obviously seeking genuine help. 

Rose by Salvador Dali illustrates an iconic image of a rose, suspended in mid-air above an arid landscape. A small, barely visible and iconic young couple, hold hands amid this arid landscape. This positioning demonstrates that the outer revelation of love can occasionally become even greater, more lovely than those experiencing this emotion could imagine. 

15 May, 2017

Brandon Balengee, Bio-Artist, 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.

12 May, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day! 

I've posted this poem on both of my sites. This doesn't have anything to do with iconic realism, but realism, yes. It's a verse that, hopefully, illustrates the flowing bond of memory and emotions between Mother and Daughter. 

Sleeping Mother with Child  by Christian Krohg, 1883\


Behind her sleeping eyes,
a youthful face remains within
the gentle embrace of her heart,
impish blue eyes, trying her patience,
the quiet soft puffs of sleeping breath.

She smiles, wondering
what this wee one dreamt,
so small, so peaceful,
then erupting passion
and the sighing relief in its passing,
growing, knowing that surely
there will return a forgiving kiss.

Eyes closed, she remains
in cherished supplication
wafting on the quiet breath
of the one who calls her Mom.

© Jeanne I. Lakatos

06 May, 2017

Brian Friel's "Molly Sweeney" and Iconic Realism

In his play, Molly Sweeney, Brian Friel utilizes theatrical dialogue between his three main characters, situated in connection with Molly’s blindness. Her blindness enables her to ‘see’ the world in a way that the sighted cannot. She transports the other characters and thus, the audience, from ignorance to awareness of cultural expectations. Friel’s Molly Sweeney is a literary representation of the iconic figure of Cathleen Ni Houlihan, and he creates the icon as a realistic woman with real perceptions in order to bring the audience to an awareness of the cultural dilemma of the dichotomy within the Irish historical perception of self. Friel connects Molly’s new sight with an overall feeling of anxiety that could be the personal reactions of one individual’s yearning for courage or a nation’s.