Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pie Wars? [or maybe] War And Pies?

Cross With Quadrants, 40" X 32"(or so), 1981, inquire here for print.
I just heard it said (Katharine Cartwright's blog) that Tolstoy once offered that good art is intelligible and comprehensible.
I can just picture Tolstoy standing there in all his glory uttering all his profundities and then—POFF—right in the face with a coconut custard—right out of nowhere.  The trouble with this guy is that he’s not an artist.  He steps out of his role as a literary genius and into our world (visual art) of which he knows nothing.  He reminds me of the Hollywood elite out there making uninformed political statements with their high school educations.  

Of course good art is based on reason and intelligence to a guy like this.  He’s a writer.  Everything he says has to make logical sense.  His world is linear.  He spent his life writing a legible line of thought that was 47.3 miles long.  Amazing feat.  But neither he nor any other of the pompous few who run the world get to judge what God gives us to do as either good or bad.   

At the risk of my own pontification on this subject, wouldn’t the good art then be the kind that causes a mental shift—a poetic leap— to where the world and time and all the other man made junk of life vanishes for a while?  And as this stuff dissipates, sublime calmness replaces it and a moment of crystal clear purity is experienced at last--to where the resulting art becomes secondary and all logic is confounded. 

Surely every one of us has experienced this as artists.  You start a piece one morning and then POOF, it’s dinnertime, and there’s a beautiful painting on your easel that you swear you had nothing to do with, but you really enjoyed watching it come up like a photograph in the developing bath!  The thing painted itself.  There’s something highly meditative and spiritual about art making as one approaches such profound levels of subjectivity.  Since there is an art to viewing art, these spiritual leaps can also occur as the viewer becomes the awestruck artist in his own right, goosebumps and all. 

Let Tolstoy, the gallery owners, critics, famous people who think they know everything there is to know, the museum ladies and all the other on-lookers gape at us with no earthly idea of what they’re seeing.  They're always in the wrong thinking mode.  Pies I tell you.  Pies for all. 

I know I'm not a writer--POFF--thanks, I suppose I deserved that--sorry Leo. 


1 comment:

Kathy said...

Ah... a reference to my post. Well, I can agree a little about the Tolstoy quote. His philosophy was egocentric and those of us in the visual arts must remember that any statement about the arts includes all of the fine arts: literature, visual, dance, etc. Nevertheless, I agree with the spirit of your message although I don't find the hand of any "god" in my work, but rather that of human imagination and intuition. Whatever inspires us is worthy of note and should be attended to. The uninspired only need to "plug in." Thanks for such a substantive post and masterful artwork! I'm a fan.