IMAGE - Omicron Warrior by Robert G. Kernodle, Acrylic House Paint On Copy Paper, 11" x 17", circa 1999
I believe that mind and spirit cannot exist without a body. A human body’s substance, furthermore, has no soul. I view both body and substance as the main priorities. Physical "stuff", in other words , is exalted and grandiose. My Omicron Paintings (a series created in 1999) visualizes this unorthodox, material-based philosophy.
At first, the raw, muscular figures in The Omicrons seem to wear masks. A clear understanding of my views reveals otherwise—I actually express the opposite of concealing one’s identity. Omicron faces represent faces that look beyond an absolute identity, and they open their bodies to the whole universe. My point of view is that each, seemingly independent body extends from the grand body of space. Space, for me, is a primordial, fluid substance. My undefined (open) Omicron faces look back into this primal origin of all things.
I believe that space is fullness, not emptiness. It is totality, not void. It is content, not merely a passive container. It is the active, vital, always present, inescapable, ultimate material of all being. It is the only one, true material from which all its forms condense. Forms, in my conception of space, are made of space itself. As water droplets condense from steam, the figures in my Omicrons condense from space.
My conception of space is cosmic cytoplasm. It is the infinite, eternal, continuous constituent of objects, and the recurring intervals between its constituent objects. Space’s components recede to incomprehensible sizes, and these components agglomerate into proportions that the human mind cannot really grasp. From my perspective, human consciousness can attune only to a limited range of these sizes or proportions. Consequently, space is sometimes visible as figures, and other times invisible as intervening gaps. As visible water transitions into invisible vapor, visible bodies transition into invisible space. My concept of body never completely separates from my concept of the body’s background—the two are the same stuff in different states of compression.
I, thus, envisions the living body as a celestial whirlpool in the fluid substance of reality. This outlook partly explains my signature ellipse in The Omicrons. An ellipse simply abbreviates circular activity of the universe’s substance—it represents a center around which a body mass takes form.
Omicron figures typically lack developed hands and feet. Extremities grade into bands that tie bodies into their common, life-giving medium. Truncated hands and feet show my refusal to represent living beings as absolute, closed boundaries. Like my open faces, my open arms and legs suggest that universal substance flows through us. Space substance, in my view, forever converts appearances, between developed limbs and contrasting backgrounds.
Because all existence has a material foundation, I argue that there can be no non-existence. “Non-existence” has never been a valid concept—it is an absurd concept. There can be nothing outside of existence, such as a non-substantial spirit. "Spirit” can only be the same thing as primordial substance, which fills everything and simultaneously intervenes as the background for every thing it fills.