To see with the natural eye unlocks just a fraction of the potential each human being has to truly see. According to artist Hagen Haltern, finding that real vision is what his current exhibit is all about.
"Beyond just the daily view, vision gives me already a foretaste of presentment, of perfection to come -- art should do that," he said.
Haltern and fellow artist Jared Harlow have been working together for years to present art examining that subject, and the results are brought together in "Visionism," on display now at the Covey Center for the Arts.
The exhibit is compiled of a variety of digital images created from source materials such as drawings, photographs and paintings that are then manipulated and composed in Photoshop. After editing and image composition is complete, each work is then printed with archival inks.
According to Haltern, the concept of visionism reflected in the exhibit is based largely on the principle of light and what happens when that light is gone.
"The visual world in general and the visual arts in particular are constituted by specific aspects of light, like color for example," he said. "In the visual arts all elements, like points, lines, planes and textures, all principles of organization, like composition, geometry, pattern and structure, and everything that creates meaning, like truth virtue and beauty, has to be turned into an equivalent of light. When light goes, so goes the entire visual dimension."
Taking light to a deeper and more spiritual level, Haltern said the best kind of light to be used in the creation of art is that of transcendent or visionary light -- an opening of spiritual eyes.
Along with such light, Haltern said, is the necessity of contrast in all things.
"We live in a world of necessary opposition and contrast," he said. "Without contrast, we cannot differentiate or identify anything."
This contrast comes in the difference between abstract and concrete, and the importance of both. According to Haltern, in life, the journey is to transform from natural born, egocentric individuals to ones who place God's will of higher importance. The purpose of art, then, is to help on that journey.
"What life is about, the foremost and supreme goal, is to become one with God," he said. "The greatest art encourages us to go in this direction. The beauty of art entices us to follow God and be one with him. We want to create an art that encourages us to be more like, become closer to and finally be one with God."