Philosophy

Heard on the Elizabeth Ann, ferry to Monhegan, Maine:

“One kind of work describes its object and is about the object. The other work is about art.” “There is nothing wrong with illustration, but it should be acknowledged, that is what it is.”

What do I believe? All art work is about art. All people see and respond to the world in an unique way. Art is the product of a true eye, a personal vision which one may or may not have the privilege to uncover. The truth of art will be revealed when given the chance to become itself through time and work.

Alex Katz,  visiting lecturer to my school in the early 70’s,  showed his recent work, cutouts- wooden silhouettes of figures with his characteristic, flat , simple delineation. He described that work as seen with “quick light,” and explained that he meant the impact to be gotten immediately, all at once. I compare this to the to the painting of Vermeer, timeless, still, yet endlessly unfolding,to my vision seen in the slowest light.

Broad categories are used to organize art, and to try to understand it. Context, history surround us. The frame of reference can be daunting. Where in this sea of time do I belong? To  work, to  search,  to find my vision knowing that truth in art can only  become itself through time and work.

The artist who continues to open may interpret vision. Like  DNA, art which becomes  signature expression is predetermined. Style is secondary to vision. Incorporating  much or little of history,  art is narrative,  figurative or abstract, minimal or baroque, technological, conceptual. With quick or slow light, art is always about itself.

So, art may be about describing a harbour, may be about color and pattern, may tell a story,  or  not. Art can be almost anything.  How to organize art is personal.  I  choose not to draw a line. Why subvert my need to be surprised by the unexpected, to be enlightened, refreshed. When viewing art I ask, does the color sing? does the paint move me?  does this work have a life? can I return to it? will it be thrown away?  Is this rich, true, right? Art is.

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