Perspective of Nostalgia

February 15th’s class with Professor Nicodemi blasted me back into ninth grade geometry class. We used algebra to calculate where one should stand when looking at a painting to get the intended view of it. I had never heard this concept of proper distance to a painting before, so the combination of mathematics and art will prove useful during future museum visits. This technique mainly applies to Renaissance artists who were interested in lines and geometry. Prince borrows the checkerboard seen in many of his works from the Renaissance era, and often draws using an extremely skewed perspective.

A friend once remarked to me that certain older sections of the town of Geneseo appeared like the platonic ideal of a small town. As I prepare to leave this place, I notice my perspective on my time in Geneseo immediately shifts into a more ideal story as soon as I contemplate leaving. Moving through time alters our perspectives just as much as distance. However, I agree with the veritable Judge John Hodgeman that nostalgia is a toxic impulse, because, as the judge unpacks in his book Vacationland, “It is the twinned, yearning delusion that (a) the past was better (it wasn´t) and (b) it can be recaptured (it can´t) that leads at best to bad art.” What I appreciate about Steve Prince’s art in collaboration with WEB Du Bois is that as much as Prince alludes to the past, these references are always placed in a current context, so that they gain strength from both the present and past.

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