Thursday, November 24, 2005

A letter on art

I like the process of making art., but i'm unsure of the goal.
when i was younger i fantasized about a 'Great Art' that could communicate "the same message equally to all people.'
The aim was always truth, beauty and justice.
Somewhere along the way i learned that art could be a dialog rather than an icon.
So I tend towards the subjective.
Much of the work that i did in my youth was lost or stolen. some things were simply abandoned because i had no place for them. Other times i convinced myself that the work lacked merit and discarded it only to turn around and see happy scavengers driving off with large oil paintings.

I often paint eyes and faces, even when i try to avoid objective representation. I also tend to see faces and figures in tree bark, clouds and dust on the floor. I'm told that our brains are wired to recognise faces as that trait has 'adaptive signifigance.'
I still ponder the notion of 'objective art.' often i find this in religious work.
I do find your photos particularly clear. they seem to point to recognisable truth beauty and even justice, (the crumbling face of F. Marcos?)
You also offer lucid descriptions of the subject and the circumstances.
Generally I believe that 'art' does several important things:
1) It awakens a great (or small) question and brings us closer to our natural curiosity.
2) It shows us things as they are, from documentary work to intricate spiritual diagrams, art trys to show the world as it is,
3) art always has a mark of humanity. It extends a 'Hand of Kindness' across oceans and centuries offering some kinship with the creator.

At sun set once i looked down the brick street that ran through that part of town. Some of the bricks had the name of the manufacturer, "Augusta Block," embossed on the surface. the other bricks were smooth but the glint of the fading light showd another feature on the smoth faces. each brick had four shallow dimples near one side. As i reached down to touch them, I realized that they were fingerprints left by the person who handled the bricks while they were still wet. The same red paving ran in all directions. churches were made of these bricks, stores and appartment houses, in nearly every city where i've ever lived.
Most days i would not have noticed these marks, It was just the sun on that particular day, in that particular place. I wish that i had a camera, but i don't know what exposure would reveal those prints and their signifigance to me at the time.

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