There's No Middle Ground - Artist Jeremy Miranda

When I walk around our neighborhood in east Bushwick (Brooklyn) I see shacks, white-stones (brownstones with white brick), concrete gardens, trashcans and sloppy construction work.
Brooklyn                                                                                                                                                            (c) Lea Winkler
When I walked around our neighbour in Bedford-Stuyvesant (Brooklyn) I saw shacks, brownstones, natural gardens, trashcans and sloppy construction work.
Brooklyn                                                                                                                                                  (c) Lea Winkler
Yet my perception of Bushwick is completely different from Bedford-Stuyvesant. It's as if I live in a different city, completely changed my life. And it has nothing to do with the difference between brown and white stones or natural and concrete gardens or even the lower exposure to trash.

The difference lies in the idea of Bushwick - home of the New York contemporary underground art scene.
Brooklyn                                                                                                                                                 (c) John Campbell
If we analyze people on the basis of whether or not one subscribes to some (probably hopelessly absurd, entirely doomed) idea, it might be possible to account for the polarization of modern-day America. Let's say we have dreamers at one end of a spectrum and skeptics at the other. As on any spectrum, we can fall in the middle, perhaps as something like "I'm a dreamer, but it isn't possible for me (or for everybody)."

Some would argue that this middle ground is not possible. The contemporary artist Jeremy Miranda is saying that we are either in the dream or the reality in his exceptional and stimulating work. His paintings often combine two worlds in the mind of one person. They are not entirely incompatible. The individual could go either way. The two visions are sufficiently consistent with each other to allow for a smooth transition from one to the other, but we must choose one.

I think, obviously, as an artist, but also due to the colors, harmony, lines, scenes, among others, that Miranda is encouraging us to choose the dream. In some of the paintings, perhaps, unintentionally, he hints at the consequences of this choice, however. The reality, the home, the living room, the standard of living will be lower - the floorboards are simple, there are gaps between them, the living room is sparce, the walls' stained, there is not much furniture, i.e. your possessions will be limited. 
Wilson subway stop, Brooklyn                                                                                                                         (c) Lea Winkler
I recently discussed pragmatists and romantics (here, here and here). The fundamental differences were defined as:
The romantics can be said to accept fate, view life as a process, not worry about the future (but have a more pessimistic outlook), disregard education, success, achievements and money, be less open to strangers (not in the sense of immigrants, but rather people outside of their immediate circle of friends and acquaintances), have a sense of humor, relax, rest and enjoy their leisure time, have polarized minds (swinging from very active to complete lethargy), love freedom, live existentially, produce and work.

Brooklyn                                                                                                                                                    (c) John Campbell
The pragmatists shape their fate, are focused on the end of the process rather than the process itself, are optimistic about the future, consider education to be critical, success and achievements as proof of self-importance, are frugal and cautious with money, network and are basically moralists with no sense of humor, work constantly, are tired, mentally slow, but consistent, never relax or enjoy a break, chain themselves to (primarily social and financial) obligations, embrace materialism, consume and manage.
Brooklyn                                                                                                                                                (c) John Campbell
These individual dichotomies in and of themselves are too simplistic to provide comprehensive knowledge, but they offer a framework for understanding a certain aspect that makes up the essence of character. Any given aspect arising from one framework must be combined with another. We have to ask ourselves: How does the subject of dreamer/skeptic relate to the pragmatist/romantic. What sorts of types do we find here?

I'm not sure whether this is in Miranda's work. It might be, but before I can determine that I have to have a conception of what this looks like. In the meantime, not matter the outcome, Miranda's art is great for the dreamers...

Angelika Friedrich

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