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Archive for the ‘Quote’ Category

What I am looking for… is an immobile movement, something which would be the equivalent of what is called the eloquence of silence, or what St. John of the Cross, I think it was, described with the term ‘mute music’.

–Joan Miro

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There is much to do this morning but there’s always a time to squeeze in a little Joan Miro.

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“Life is painful. It has thorns, like the stem of a rose. Culture and art are the roses that bloom on the stem. The flower is yourself, your humanity. Art is the liberation of the humanity inside yourself.” 

― Daisaku Ikeda

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I was going to write more about this painting– Split the Darkness, which is part of my current show at the Principle Gallery–and the thought behind it but the words above from Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda pretty much sums up what I was thinking. And in a much more concise way. In short, to fully experience life we must endure the pain that is part of it, the suffering and loss that comes to us all. The art we create is a reflection of our experience, our humanity.

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For the mystic what is how. For the craftsman how is what. For the artist what and how are one.

–William McElcheran, Canadian Sculptor 1927-1999

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This morning I came across the quote above from the great Canadian sculptor William McElcheran that I featured here a few years back. Its wordplay and meaning both still ring a bell for me, even though I am not sure of McElcheran’s definitions of what and how. I have searched several times trying to find the origin of this quote to see the context in which it was first said but it seems to simply stand alone.

And I guess that’s okay because it says a lot and is complete in its meaning, at least in the way I perceive it.

I guess I fall in the artist category here. I am definitely searching for the what in my work regardless of the how that is required to get there. I will gladly alter my how to get to the what. My how is not based on tradition, is not absolute in any way and changes as needed. Yet, it is still crucial that it remains my how because if I feel that if I defer to another how exclusively it ceases to be my how and fails to express my individual voice.

It is when the how and the what merge that I feel most satisfied in my work.

Now, if you can follow that– and I am not really sure that I can myself– you must obviously fall into the mystic category.

I used the painting at the top, Spirit of Silence, which is part of my current Principle Gallery show, because it feels to me like it falls in that area where the how and what come together. It is a simply built painting where the how of it seems to roll perfectly into the what that it conveys. I immediately thought of this piece when I read the words at the top earlier.

 

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While I recognize the necessity for a basis of observed reality… true art lies in a reality that is felt.

–Odilon Redon
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Love this quote from the French artist Odilon Redon (1840-1916). His work certainly reflected this thought, most generally having deep emotional tones.
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I first came across his work in the form of a book of his drawings. I thought that was his dominant form of expression until I began to look deeper into his paintings. The boldness, purity and harmonies of his colors struck me. The colors alone carried the emotional weight of many of his paintings, seemingly allowing the viewer to sense its tone and message in a single glimpse. Longer observation is rewarded as one better sees the subtlety in Redon’s expression.
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I am definitely a fan of Odilon Redon and,  even though our styles and methods greatly differ, try to carry that idea of felt reality into my own work. Here’s a video that gives a nice overview of his paintings.
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“Touch your inner space, which is nothingness, as silent and empty as the sky; it is your inner sky. Once you settle down in your inner sky, you have come home, and a great maturity arises in your actions, in your behavior. Then whatever you do has grace in it. Then whatever you do is a poetry in itself. You live poetry; your walking becomes dancing, your silence becomes music.”

~Osho

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“How vast those Orbs must be, and how inconsiderable this Earth, the Theatre upon which all our mighty Designs, all our Navigations, and all our Wars are transacted, is when compared to them. A very fit consideration, and matter of Reflection, for those Kings and Princes who sacrifice the Lives of so many People, only to flatter their Ambition in being Masters of some pitiful corner of this small Spot.”

― Christiaan Huygens, Cosmotheoros: or, conjectures concerning the inhabitants of the planets (ca 1695)

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I am a bit slow getting around this morning so I thought I’d share one more painting from the Principle Gallery show. This is titled The Navigator and is 24″ by 24″ on canvas.

Accompanying it are the words from the 17th century Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens. Shortly before his death in 1695, he had written a book, Cosmotheoros, in which he postulated on the existence of extraterrestrial life in the far reaches of the universe. His lifelong study of the cosmos allowed him to see how tiny and possibly inconsequential our world was in relative terms.

And that is a fitting thought for this painting as the boat skims over a vast sea, guided by the light from huge suns that are so distant that they may not even exist at this moment even though their light still travels to us through the dark of space.

The universe is humbling in its scale and scope.

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The interpretation of our reality through patterns not our own, serves only to make us ever more unknown, ever less free, ever more solitary.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Speech 1982

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This is a new painting, a 16″ by 20″ canvas, that is part of Haven, my solo show that opens Friday at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria. It is titled Seeking the Design.

I chose the words above from the Nobel Prize speech from the late author Gabriel Garcia Marquez to accompany this painting even though Marquez was speaking above how the people and countries of South America had suffered over the centuries by trying to adhere to patterns of behavior and expectation imposed upon them by foreign influences.

These words spoke to me on a more individual level. We often live our lives according to the norms and expectations of others, following well worn paths from which we seldom, if ever, depart. As a result, we often become no more than others expect us to be.

It as though we have not even attempted to find our own pattern, our own design for living.

And that is what I see in this painting. The Red Tree, an earthly being, has come to the end of that worn path and must make a decision about how to proceed. While there are multitudes of options revealed in the maze-like underpainting of the sky and earthly options that likely exist beyond the layers of distant hills, the Red Tree must choose between finding the pattern that best suits its own desires and needs or going back on that path to follow in the footsteps of the crowd that travels along it.

I get the feeling that latter option would result in one feeling, as Marquez pointed out, more unknown, ever less free and ever more solitary.

For me, this painting has a nice harmony between dark edged weariness and colorful optimism. It is both scary and invigorating in finding one’s own design or pattern to follow. I believe the Red Tree will be following its own path.

Well, that’s how I see it, anyway.

 

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