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Posts Tagged ‘Immanuel Kant’

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“Whereas the beautiful is limited, the sublime is limitless, so that the mind in the presence of the sublime, attempting to imagine what it cannot, has pain in the failure but pleasure in contemplating the immensity of the attempt”

― Immanuel KantCritique of Pure Reason

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The painting shown at the top is titled Sublime. It is a new 24″ by 48″ canvas that is included in my show, Moments and Color, that opens a week from today on Friday, July 12, at the West End Gallery.

I struggled finding a title for this piece for a long time. There was a quality in it that attracted me immensely, that spoke volumes to me. But try as I might, I could never quite put my finger on what exact quality that might be. I just knew that if felt like something bigger than any single emotion. It had, for me, an immensity of feeling.

So, the word sublime came up in my search for a title and it immediately felt right. The feeling I was sensing and trying to describe was sublime, at least in my understanding of the word which put it at a point beyond beauty. Maybe beauty plus several other layers of feeling.

Every word that came to mind seemed limited to one emotional ray but sublime was a wide spectrum of feeling.

It was already titled when I came across the words at the top from the philosopher Immanuel Kant. His idea of the sublime being limitless and beyond our attempts at imagining it described perfectly my own frustration in the struggle to find words for the wide range of feeling I was sensing in this piece.

It seemed a bit like serendipity that the painting’s title was already Sublime. I still feel frustrated in describing my response to this piece but that word, sublime, covers the bases for me.

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Moments and Color is the title for my annual show at the West End Gallery, located on historic Market Street in Corning, NY. The exhibit opens Friday, July 12, with a reception that is open to all and runs 5-7:30 PM. The show is currently in the gallery and available for previews.

 

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“Enlightenment is man’s release from his self-incurred tutelage. Tutelage is man’s inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another. Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another. Sapere aude!- ‘Have courage to use your own reason!’- that is the motto of enlightenment.”

― Immanuel Kant,  What Is Enlightenment?

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Sapere Aude!  From the Latin for Dare to know.

I came across the passage above from the 18th century philosopher Immanuel Kant and felt immediately that it was a great match for this new painting.  In fact I am calling this piece, 11′ by 15″ on paper,  Dare to Know (Sapere Aude!)

The Red Tree here is removed away from the influence and shading of the other trees and houses in the foreground, out of darkness and into the light.  There is a light about the Red Tree and a sense of freedom in the openness of the space around it. It is free to examine the world, free to seek the knowledge it craves, and free to simply think for itself.

It’s a great idea, this concept of enlightenment and one that we definitely could use today.  Too many of us form our own base of knowledge by relying on the thoughts and opinions of others, often without giving much consideration as to their truthfulness, motives, or origins.  Or we shade our base of knowledge with our own desires for  how reality should appear, holding onto false beliefs that suit us even when they obviously contradict reality.

In short, there is no enlightenment based on falsehoods, no way to spin darkness into light.  Enlightenment comes in stepping away from the darkness of lies and deceptions to see the world as it is, with clarity.  It means stripping away our own self defenses and admitting our own shortcomings, prejudices, and predispositions.

It may not always be what one hoped for but it is an honest reality. And maybe that is enlightenment, the willingness to face all truths with honesty.

To dare to know.

Sapere Aude!

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