Opposites: Conflict and the Human Mind

UPDATE: Opposites will be shown again at Gilly Szego: A Retrospective 7 - 12 Dec 2017 at Protein Studios, London

Opposites is a new exhibition for 2016 exploring Cognitive Dissonance. Each watercolour is part of a pair that portrays opposing emotions.

Since early childhood I have been interested in what other people were thinking; puzzled that we could not know what they were thinking, or their inability to know my thoughts. Our opinions can be so diametrically different. 

Following the experience of a stroke five years ago I realised I could have some effect on my mind; through concentrated thought, I could force myself to move my body, and to change my feelings. I could keep my feelings under control. This led me to realise that if one could keep equal emphasis on opposite opinions simultaneously, the ability to see other people’s points of view would be enhanced.

I realised that opposites can be found in almost everything; colours, emotions, acoustics, actions, aesthetics, physics and beyond.

People often think they are happier when they are in agreement with each other. But each person’s opposites can have a unique value emphasising, even celebrating, the contrast or comparison between the two.

Opposites: Conflict and the Human Mind is the culmination of two years exploration of these strong contrasting pairings. The pieces in this exhibition are watercolour and ink, flowing freely on thick paper, avoiding cliche images, creating colours and shapes that enable people to discover their own unique mood or feeling about the works, very different from anyone else’s.

It’s easy to be led into thinking that the meeting of minds, the sharing of opinion, the wonderful closeness of two people in-tune with each other is the most important achievement in relationships. But it’s the difference, opposites, other points of view that help form the most rewarding relationships.

We must seek out opposite attitudes to enrich our lives.

A person’s opinion or beliefs may be diametrically opposed to yours, and your ideas profoundly different to theirs, but your contributions to life in opposite spheres can prove creative and mind-expanding.

If we all trained our minds to hold opposite ideas simultaneously, we would expand our capacity to develop the world truly creatively, and ultimately without war.

This exhibition explores our ability to hold, and accept, differing opinions in our minds. Some of the pieces are more obvious than others, and you are likely to find that you disagree with other people on which opposites are being portrayed.

Voltaire said, in answer to a question about the definition of tolerance: “It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error. Let us pardon reciprocally each other’s folly. That is the first law of nature.”

Venue: Edmund Gallery, Angel Hill Bury St Edmunds, IP33 1LS
Dates: 24th - 29th September 2016

UPDATE: Opposites will be shown again at Gilly Szego: A Retrospective 7 - 12 Dec 2017 at Protein Studios, London