Aggravated Surfaces | The Rorschach Inkblot

Warren Hoyano, At the Edges, Watercolour, 60” x 44”, 2012. Image Courtesy of the artist.

Warren Hoyano’s light and dark abstractions inspire a sense of hesitancy on the part of the viewer. We are often unable or unwilling to address the traumas of war, and so Hoyano’s works attempt to represent such feelings in a visual form.

The experience of viewing Hoyano’s works is therefore reminiscent of the Rorschach inkblot test. Invented by the Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach, the test has the patient shown a series of abstract inkblots, and psychologists then analyze their reactions to determine potential personality disorders. By encouraging the patient to reveal the first word or thought that comes to mind, this allows for honest answers that the patient would otherwise be reluctant to share.

Check out this Rorschach-inspired music video from the soul duo Gnarls Barkley!


Warren Hoyano: Aggravated Surfaces
May 16 – July 7
Art Gallery of Mississauga (

Master watercolourist Warren Hoyano presents his contemporary version of this historic medium by revealing the underworld of shadows, stains, marks and abstract traces from the quotidian. The artist’s inventive technique is a subtractive process in which pigment is applied and then water is used to mimic the natural processes of erosion and aging. Deliberate and accidental effects are exposed in a similar refrain of the patterns of daily life.  The result is delicate wash-like passages that rest beside dark, opaque areas. The feeling of time and process are evident in the work as light and dark seem to float, while scale and illusion shape shift in a Rorschach inkblot guessing game.

The artist would like to acknowledge funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

Artist video produced by AGM Board Member Gabriella Bank, Sanborg Productions.

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