Is contradiction valuable? The contemporary world is a heterogeneous mess of contradictory facts and disparate positions. Under this circumstance, lived experience is difficult. Can we find the “right way” to negotiate our conditions? How do we proceed toward understanding the complexity and dissonance that occurs in real life experience?
This paper examines how the tools of contrast and proliferation in artistic practice help to elaborate on this existential contradiction, and reveal its pervasiveness in both creative and lived experience. I discuss works of both literature and painting that reveal the conflicted nature of human experience. Along the way, I relate this discussion to my painting installation, Can you describe this ruckus?, a body of work that reference a disparate array styles, conventions, and conceptual positions on painting. I conclude by revealing my value for deliberate contradiction and my belief in the generative potential it creates.