“By paying close attention to delineated space and common images placed in extreme settings, Rossiter creates a new symbolic language of intimate relationships.”
Michael Rossiter, Pathways, 2012. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.
By Rose Hobart
Ultimately, the sensation that we are peering into someone’s dream world or personal subjectivity is evidenced in Rossiter’s work. In this sense, his work has a lot to do with major thinkers like Sigmund Freud. In the 1920’s Sigmund Freud revolutionized the study of dreams with his work The Interpretation Of Dreams. Freud began to analyze dreams in order to understand aspects of human behavior. He believed that in civilized society, we have a tendency to hold back our natural urges and repress our impulses. Yet, these urges and impulses must be released in some way; so they often have a way of coming to the surface in disguised forms. Freud felt that our dreams were the locus of unconscious desires be them sexual, dangerous or suspenseful. Eventually, Freud came to the conclusion that the unconscious expresses itself in a symbolic language. Symbolic meaning is at the heart of Michael’s work – his symbols are visual puns, cues and witty juxtapositions that create images that are personal and universal.
Michael states “a lot of the symbols are just my imagination running wild as I sketch out ideas for my paintings, some symbols and characters have stuck and I’ve used them across a number of my works as a thread. My aim throughout most of my work is to provide a dreamlike escape to the viewer, taking them away for a moment from the seriousness in the real world and hopefully getting a smile out of them! I love to hear what other people see in my work – everyone has a different take on it. I often try to put in things that will not be noticed at first glance and I’ve had buyers of my work contact me months later to tell me that they have just found something in the painting that they never noticed before!”
Michael Rossiter is a contemporary neo-surrealist whose work is at the forefront of a new avant-garde. Surrealism originated as a literary movement that experimented with a new mode of expression called automatic writing, or automatism, both of which sought to release the unbridled imagination of the subconscious. The movement originated in Paris in 1924 with the publication of the Manifesto of Surrealism by the poet and critic André Breton. And Rossiter’s paintings have much in common with the master Belgian surrealist painter, Rene Magritte.
Like Magritte, Rossiter uses witty and thought-provoking imagery to encourage viewers to question their perceptions of reality, and become hypersensitive to the world around them. By paying close attention to delineated space and common images placed in extreme settings, Rossiter creates a new symbolic language of intimate relationships.