Robert Plutchik, whose psychoevolutionary theory of emotion is one of the most influential classification approaches for general emotional response, considers there to be eight primary emotions. These 'basic' emotions are biologically primitive. He argues for the primacy
of these emotions by showing each to be the trigger of behavior, suchas the way fear inspires fight or flight. For example, he describes terror as a stronger variant of fear that, in turn is a stronger variant of apprehension.He suggested these as bipolar emotions: joy versus sadness; anger versus fear; trust versus disgust; and surprise versus anticipation.
Additionally, he made connections between the idea of an emotion circle and a color wheel. Like colors, primary emotions can be expressed at different intensities and can mix with one another to form different emotions.
Perceived as a continuation of the artists exploration into linguistic and visual patterns and their interactions, Plutchiks emotional colour wheel becomes the derivation of the work.Starting at the centre, with the basic biological emotions, set at their polar opposites, Plutchik’s primary colours of emotion are used as the point of departure.Radiating out from the centre of the wheel, each emotion has its dictionary entry trailing off from its assigned colour point. From the central mass of the “primitive” colour/emotion primaries, their compounds pulsate outward in successive bands like a supernova of the human condition.The emotions are defined towards the centre by the standard dictionary denotation, but often, as the mix gets more complex, the text expresses the artists intuitive or cognitive response to the word itself. At the outer circumference of the compass begin the pithy streetwise expressions. Terse, humorous and coded they intersperse the flares of the more flamboyant commentaries, binding the structure of the work and defining its boundaries.
As with a guiding compass the work can be rotated on the wall as the viewer favours particular colours or emotions to correspond to their own state of being.This work can be viewed (and read) as a path-finding guide into the artists’ perception of emotion. The words and definitions have been placed around the wheel as the artist expresses her instinctive correlation of psychological states of being. Alternatively it can be seen as an exuberant and complex starburst of the human psyche.