|"Sacrifice" Elizabeth McGhee 2009. oil on panel|
"The object expands beyond the bounds of its appearance by our knowledge that the thing is more than its exterior presents to our eye" -Paul Klee
This quote by Paul Klee clearly illustrates symbolism. An idea can transform an apple into more than just a fruit depending on the associations and base knowledge connected to it. An apple can represent the biblical idea of original sin, public education, or even physical health. And the entire time the item remained the same- it was the context that had changed. So rather than viewing three different paintings of an apple, the transformation of meaning took place cognitively in the mind.
Often times this leads to multiple interpretations of the same image that varies depending on the viewer's knowledge. Viewers are then forced to use their own imagination to "finish" a painting.