Seek and You Shall Find


Jon Cuyson’s art book, Seek and You Shall Find, challenges the viewer to determine the meaning of the work. The protagonist of the story appears to be the image of a “midnight sun,” weaving a linear connection with the constant yet constantly changing street signage. Ads, personals, wanted notes, and job offers, meaningless by themselves, assume a new significance when placed next to the constantly appearing image of the sun.

Here, contrasting allusions to meaningful and meaningless signage lead to two ideas: that the hypertextual iconography is intentionally reduced to a steady line, to a sense of unison in the reverberation of meaning, suggesting that if there is meaning, it is open- ended meaning, a meaning determined by random relationships and no closure. The meaning here is meaning without message, meaning not drawn from the signified, but from the signifier. Secondly, role shifting between viewer and artist takes place through the artist’s eye when he photographs his objects of interest from both distance and proximity. What is relevant here is not what is viewed, but simply the act of viewing.

The book deals with color, words, and images as aesthetic form.  Color is always autonomous and formal, even when deeply embedded into an image that gives it meaning. By themselves words are meaningful, although in the book they lack significance as narrative. The narration is the sequential act of turning the pages, and finding sameness and difference in each page. There is no meaning that leads to the next page, but certain words determine what the angle of the page is. This after-the-fact significance shows words and phrases as abstract form, autonomous, able to create a de-touring effect in relation to specific meaning, therefore, not universal. Images can also be subjected to meaning, but here they are destabilized by the repetitive image of the sun next to them. Seek and You Shall Find is also about how an image can be perceived differently; how images become iconic through our social imagining, reminding us of the deep connection between images of objects or situations and their philosophical, religious, political, or cultural interpretations.

Denise Carvalho