Jeff Bohlander

Place to Be

mixed media: collage, found objects and fabric, acrylic, latex, silkscreen print, photo transfers, oil stick, cotton, graphite on canvas



Artist Statement

The goal of my work is to engage in a discourse. Discourse refers to how we think and communicate. The verbal and visual connections with people, things, the social organization of society, and the relationships among and between all three. By virtue of giving structure and order to language and thought, discourse structures and orders our lives, relationships with others, and society. Typically it emerges out of social institutions like media and politics, among others. It shapes our thoughts, ideas, beliefs, values, identities, interactions with others, and our behavior. In doing so it produces much of what occurs within us and within society. In Linguistics, discourse refers to a unit of language and its social usage. To study discourse is to analyze the use of verbal (spoken or written) and visual language in a social context. It is interested in how larger units of language—including semantics, syntax and context—contribute meaning to conversations. Syntax and context constitutes meaning through discourse. Oftentimes, meaning cannot be extrapolated from a verbal exchange alone because of the many semantic factors involved, however visual discourse and particularly its marriage with the verbal, is derived from a shared visual language. Graphic signage, advertising, corporate identity and logos are all examples of this shared visual/verbal language. I am most interested in the diverse semantic dialogues that take place, in both visual and verbal language, between the images, the viewer and in turn the artist. This discourse of dialogue is succinctly specific to the individual viewer. He/She brings to the conversation their own unique story, context, and experience which inturn gives the work specific and unique meaning wholly separate from any intended meaning given by the creator or others. But, discourse is more than a message between sender and receiver. The interaction and communication of images and elements within the work creates another form of discourse that may invoke a completely independent meaning.

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