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A Resounding Plea: The Artwork of Misha Bittleston
by Kellan McNally

Through the ever-broadening lens of post-modernist art, the boundless interpretation allowed by Misha Bittleston allows for immense creative blossoming. It is often ambiguity that resonates with the best-heard voice, and it is often the strongest artists that with vagueness accomplish the most. Misha Bittleston: Detail - Untitled STKG IV, 2003-11-19 When granted the privilege of free interpretation the audience builds a personal connection with a piece, in effect allowing the artist's message to grow and mature. It is the perception by one viewer of Misha Bittleston's 2003-11-19-Untitled STKG IV-Ink on Paper-13 1-2x10 that exemplifies the positive role art can play in teaching reality's truths.

Bittleston's 2003-11-19-Untitled STKG IV-Ink on Paper-13 1-2x10 immediately captures its viewers' attention with its strong characters and vivid distinction. Unlike other Bittleston works that rely on a more Rorschach inkblot approach, this work's eerily familiar elements force the viewer to identify. The four large black towers represent an unwilling solemnity. The towers' weathered and curved frames, like the wind-beaten and abused walls of desert plateaus, suggest a tone of tragic defeat against the slow forces of time. Moreover, the crooked steeped tops of each tower create a quality of falling excess, much like the fallen skyscrapers of recent years. It is an air of corruption and sullen awkwardness that characterize Bittleston's piece.

Upon viewing this work, or any such work of art, it should be remembered that it is not the job of the artist to interpret and explain. The clarity of the artist's message is seen in the ability of the piece to connect with its viewer. In appreciation of Bittleston's tendency to leave works untitled, this critic commends the artist's commitment to free and open interpretation. Like the colors utilized in Bittleston's works, the world is neither pure black nor pure white, but a variation of extremes countered by the contributions of gray ambiguity. For these reasons, Bittleston's works resound with great force.

When viewing 2003-11-19-Untitled, it is a hope that others will receive Bittleston's message with similar clarity that motivates this particular artistic interpretation. Bittleston's ink portrays a reality of trouble for an audience that has lost the ability to see truth. Like the weathered foundations of our modernity, humankind must erect itself anew. The selfish thinking of the Power Elite, as social scientist C. Wright Mills describes it, has allowed "some men...to occupy positions in American society from which they can look down upon, so to speak, and by their decisions mightily affect, the everyday worlds of ordinary men and woman" (Mills 146). As illustrated in Misha Bittleston's 2003-11-19-Untitled, it is time for industrial society to redistribute authority with equality and correct itself, before our already weakened foundations weather to Misha Bittleston: Untitled STKG IV, 2003-11-19 a point of unmanageable strain.

While the interpretation of others may contrast, one would hope that such a work is not interpreted as a celebration, but a plea. Without adhering too greatly to the voice of Karl Marx, one could easily view Misha Bittleston's 2003-11-19-Untitled STKG IV-Ink on Paper-13 1-2x10 as the visual exemplification of Marx's plea for social reorganization under the basic truth of economic equality. It may not even be cry for communism that sums up this critic's interpretation, but an archetypal pattern within the humanities to see the world as a place capable of much greater beauty and justice. Through the clarity and purity of Misha Bittleston's art, this positive message opens the weathered minds of unaware and complacent society in hope of progress.


Mills, C. Wright. "The Power Elite."
From Readings in Social Theory and Modernization. Editor Thomas J. Whalen. Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing, 2003.



Author Kellan McNally (Brooklyn, Connecticut)
Currently entering a second year as a Student of English / Humanities at Boston University.
Introduced to the work of Misha Bittleston after a friend compared Bittleston to the Rorschach inkblot approach. Studying to be a freelance essayist and a professor of the humanities after graduation.

–2004

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