Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. An Artist’s Perspective: Individual Freedom and Human Progress—D.C. McAllister

 

Human flourishing flows from the wellspring of individual freedom.

We hear words like flourishing, or progress, individuality, and freedom all the time, but oftentimes they’re muddled. We speak the words, but we don’t really know what they mean. I admit I haven’t. Not clearly. Not until I read The Catcher in the Rye again.

I could feel a tightness in my throat and my heart beating harder as I read the words on the page. Holden Caulfield was drunk in a New York bar, his depression consuming him.

I could hardly see straight. When I was really drunk, I started that stupid business with the bullet in my guts again. I was the only guy at the bar with a bullet in their guts. I kept putting my hand under my jacket, on my stomach and all, to keep the blood from dripping all over the place. I didn’t want anybody to know I was even a wounded sonuvabitch.

My face warmed and tears fell—not from sadness but from an overwhelming sense of understanding. I laid the book against my chest and let myself feel what Holden was feeling with his imaginary gunshot wound. I could because I knew it so well. The bullet in my gut. The blood dripping. Not wanting anyone to know I was wounded, or at least not wanting to explain it. I didn’t want to answer the question, “What’s wrong?” I have a bullet it my gut! Blood is dripping everywhere! That’s what’s wrong!

I didn’t think anyone would understand. How could they? But J. D. Salinger understood: Losing part of yourself—the most innocent part—in the face of too much pain. That understanding, that connection to another’s presence, to another’s suffering, gave me peace. I wasn’t alone. 

Such is the power of the artist—of anyone really—who is fully present, expressing themselves, their hurts, their joys, their insights in a way no one else can. This kind of power can’t come from parroting others. It can’t come from mass production of black velvet portraits. It can’t come from conformity to a standard someone else has set. It has to come from the unique thoughts and experiences of the free individual—the wellspring of originality and life itself.

Art is the true expression and presence of a self-aware individual—and we’re drawn to it like the old man is drawn to the sea. We love “the original.” We love to encounter something we’ve never seen before. Why is that? Is it just that we’re bored and we want to be titillated with something new and shiny? I don’t think so. 

I think we are drawn to creativity and originality because we love life, we love what is real, we love what is true. In that moment, as we come face to face with someone being purely themselves, we see ourselves. Our own humanity is reflected back to us, and in that reflection, we are part of something bigger—not consumed by it, but participants in it. We are individuals, but we’re not alone. 

Performance artist Marina Abramovic understood this in her work “The Artist is Present” at the Museum of Modern Art in 2010. The exhibition was simple. Marina sat in a chair for hours as people came one by one to sit across from her and look into her eyes. Some people wept. Some laughed. Some seemed to pray. No one said a word, but in those moments, as Marina allowed herself to be present, to connect with the person across from her, art was created: The beauty of human connection in the midst of presence and encounter—two individuals, fully aware, joining as one. 

We have two philosophical tensions in this world. First is the idea that human flourishing comes from society, from the collective. This Eastern idea is expressed at its most extreme when the individual is lost to the group and originality and diversity are consumed by conformity “for the greater good.” The result is despair as we lose ourselves in a cold and mechanistic construct designed and controlled by those in power.

Second is the more Western philosophy that flourishing comes from everyone being free to be themselves. The extreme of this view is when life becomes reductionistic, atomistic, and when the individual is cut off from others; everyone is just out for themselves. The result—like that of the individual lost to the collective—is despair, because we can’t be happy when we’re disconnected from others. Human beings will never flourish in isolation. 

I believe the artist—maybe even more than the philosopher or the theologian or the scientist (and certainly more than the politician)—can bridge these two worldviews. Happiness comes from the wellspring of the free individual, but being a free individual drives us toward one another, not away.

When you are free, when you are truly yourself, and when you are present to others, you connect with the world around you. You are bigger as a result. You are flourishing. You are happy. But that can’t happen if you aren’t free to be and express yourself—without freedom of the will and the mind, there is only bondage. The irony is that the greatest inhibitor to our freedom is often not an exterior force—it’s the fears and insecurities inside our own minds. 

Many people feel isolated and alone because they don’t know themselves, or they lie to themselves about who they are, or they simply don’t explore and experience their own extraordinary beauty as individuals. Because they don’t know who they are or maybe they’re just not comfortable with themselves, they can’t be fully present to others. They can’t connect—not because anyone is keeping them from connecting, but because they have isolated themselves from within. 

Fear has robbed them of their freedom to be themselves. That loss keeps them from making human bonds (or at least real, satisfying ones), and they drown in isolation and loneliness. Ironically, they think the answer to that isolation is to build false social constructs through acts of conformity in pop culture, cult-like religious groups, social engineering, and community planning (and collectivists are there to lead them into the trap). But these social constructs are contrived. They’re an illusion to true human connection. They’re phony because they’re not built on the foundation of the free individual. 

Authenticity only comes through a person being himself and herself, open, and willing to connect with others.

Can you think of a time when you met someone who made you feel better about yourself simply by being in their presence? Thoughts of them lingered in your mind long after you met them. There was just something about them that affected you, even though you couldn’t exactly put your finger on what it was. The reason you felt that way is because that person was fully present. You encountered them as a truly free individual—free from external and internal restraints—and that encounter enriched, even changed, you. 

Can you think of a work of art you’ve seen, a piece of music you’ve heard, a book you’ve read, a film you’ve watched that moved you in a way nothing else ever has? You can’t always describe what that ineffable quality is, but it’s real and you connect with the artist through his or her work. As a result, you feel a sense peace because—in some strange way—you are more complete than you were before you read those words or heard those chords or saw those forms on the canvas.

That kind of human expansion—flourishing—can only happen when individuals are free and when they actually express and act on that freedom in an honest and open way. Whether it’s in art or everyday life, if we’re not real and open to others, we will never be truly happy. We’ll be isolated as we fail to connect with those around us, or we’ll become lost in phony constructs built to mimic human connection. Either way, we’ll grow smaller and smaller until there is nothing left.

Only by being free as our true selves will we be present to others and give them the sacred gift of looking into our eyes and seeing the golden reflection of their own greatness. 

Artwork: “Golden Leaves” by D.C. McAllister (acrylic, sand, rice paper)

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  1. Merina Smith Inactive

    Hmmm–well, interesting points, Denise. It’s a bit hard for me to get my mind around….

    Edited….

    I like your painting!

    • #1
    • May 1, 2014, at 11:38 AM PDT
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  2. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister

    Merina–Maybe I just didn’t communicate my ideas clearly. If that’s the case, I apologize.

    • #2
    • May 1, 2014, at 12:06 PM PDT
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  3. DocJay Inactive

    The most profound movie for me ever was “Night Of The Iguana” where Richard Burton was struggling with his old demons and at a loss as to what to do with his life as well as his faith.
    I think about it when I get to the end of my rope every so often and contemplate the Reverend T Lawrence Shannon at the end of his. He was existing in a phony construct which was falling apart. We all deal with odd constructs but it sure is nice to feel free to be who you are every now and then. Nice art D.C.

    • #3
    • May 1, 2014, at 12:19 PM PDT
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  4. Merina Smith Inactive

    Well I said at the outset that it was hard for me to get my mind around. In part I was responding to where you say that art “can’t come from conformity to a standard someone else has set. It has to come from the unique thoughts and experiences of the free individual—the wellspring of originality and life itself.”

    But you’re right. I don’t really get what you’re saying. But I do agree that art is good. Good art anyway.

    • #4
    • May 1, 2014, at 12:40 PM PDT
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  5. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister

    Merina Smith:

    In part I was responding to where you say that art “can’t come from conformity to a standard someone else has set. It has to come from the unique thoughts and experiences of the free individual—the wellspring of originality and life itself.”

    Oh, I see now. I understand some of the confusion. And, thank you, Merina for reading and commenting on the post. This subject means a great deal to me and I appreciate you taking the time. As for the part you were responding to, let me comment on that. I wasn’t saying “art” itself (technically speaking) can’t conform to a standard someone else has set. I was talking about the power of the artist to connect with others.

    When you create art, you are communicating something. If all you’re communicating is something someone else has said or done or created, if all you’re doing is parroting and you’re not really putting yourself into the art, into communication with another, then you won’t make the powerful connections that happen when you are being true to yourself. When an artist is honest and original, creating from his or her own experiences and communicating those human realities to others, then the viewer or the reader responds to that reality. We don’t weep over black velvet scenes of wolves for a reason. Black velvet does not form human bonds. That’s why crafts aren’t art. There’s no depth of communication, nothing of the sublime in crafts. This isn’t a bad thing; it just is.

    When an artist is free (unrestrained by the conformity of those around him) as himself, as God made him (not in a libertine way), but true to act and be his own created self—in the true image of the Creator, then he will connect with others because we all share a common humanity. We respond to the realness of the artist who is truly present. We don’t respond to absence of self or to a self in bondage.

    The free individual is the person who is not in bondage by exterior or interior forces. He or she is able to be present for others and to communicate honestly “face to face” (to use a biblical term); face to face means to see something for what it truly is. In that moment, in that connection, we are joined together as one. And what brought us to that oneness? Our individuality—free and honest and shared with others. 

    I hope that helps. Again, thank you for taking the time to read what I wrote. :)

    • #5
    • May 1, 2014, at 1:17 PM PDT
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  6. iWe Reagan
    iWe Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Oddly enough, DC, I don’t think you go far enough!

    I think we are drawn to creativity and originality because we love life, we love what is real, we love what is true. 

    I would put it differently. The Torah tells us that we are invested with G-d’s own spirit. That means that we have been gifted with a piece of the Infinite: the ability to create something that has never existed before, just as G-d made the world. We are drawn to creativity because it touches our divine soul.

    And that is why we do not value craft or even perfect copies: people intuitively understand the value of a creative act, even if the product is externally indistinguishable from a fake. 

    As for..

    When an artist is free… in the true image of the Creator, then he will connect with others because we all share a common humanity.

    We connect with others because connecting with others IS a connection to G-d’s spirit in other people. The reunification of people is a reunion of souls, a very powerful thing indeed. 

    So what you call “humanity” I would call “common connection to the Creator.” 

    • #6
    • May 1, 2014, at 1:26 PM PDT
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  7. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    D.C. McAllister:

    I didn’t think anyone would understand. How could they? But J. D. Salinger understood…

    I wonder how uncommon this kind of vivid, visceral imagination really is. I suspect it’s a normal part of human experience, even if we don’t talk about it much.

    Especially in a culture that seems to assume hallucinations result merely from either intoxication or illness (whether mental or physical), communicating “hallucinatory” understanding (that is, understanding manifesting itself as a vivid image or intense sensation rather than discursively, though words or symbols parsed according to pre-existing rules) is somewhat difficult, and even embarrassing.

    We may revere the prophets’ visions in the Bible, but odds are we’d dismiss a modern person who similarly relied on visions to communicate understanding as a whackjob.

    In certain disciplines, hallucinatory understanding can and should be translated into discursive understanding. Math is like that. You may “see” a proof long before you figure out how to write it down, but it’s not a proof till it’s written down.

    But other times, communicating hallucinatory understanding is the right thing to do, though it must be done with sensitivity and without too much self-indulgence.

    • #7
    • May 1, 2014, at 1:34 PM PDT
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  8. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister

    iWc:

    Oddly enough, DC, I don’t think you go far enough!

    I think we are drawn to creativity and originality because we love life, we love what is real, we love what is true.

    I would put it differently. The Torah tells us that we are invested with G-d’s own spirit. That means that we have been gifted with a piece of the Infinite: the ability to create something that has never existed before, just as G-d made the world. We are drawn to creativity because it touches our divine soul.

    And that is why we do not value craft or even perfect copies: people intuitively understand the value of a creative act, even if the product is externally indistinguishable from a fake.

    As for..

    When an artist is free… in the true image of the Creator, then he will connect with others because we all share a common humanity.

    We connect with others because connecting with others IS a connection to G-d’s spirit in other people. The reunification of people is a reunion of souls, a very powerful thing indeed.

    So what you call “humanity” I would call “common connection to the Creator.”

     iWc–I’m so glad you commented, and I was thinking as I was writing this that someone who understands the richness of Jewish theology will understand some of my points. And yes, your point that humanity is the common connection to the Creator is so very true. But I would make a bit of a distinction. We do connecting with each other not just in a being as in the image of God, but even in our humanity, our fallenness, our mutability, our limitedness. We share those commonalities as well, and when we communicate them in the context of our individual experiences, we connect with others.

    The idea of face to face, the Hebrew term for this, I believe is related to telling or speaking. To be known face to face. To connect in this way is to be truly known. That is the comfort we find in art. But it can only happen when we are truly known—something we can’t do in isolation. 

    • #8
    • May 1, 2014, at 1:44 PM PDT
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  9. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister

    double post

    • #9
    • May 1, 2014, at 1:55 PM PDT
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  10. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister

    Merina Smith:

    Hmmm–well, interesting points, Denise. It’s a bit hard for me to get my mind around….

    Edited….

    I like your painting!

     Thanks, Merina. :) I probably need to paint more because it relaxes me. It’s frustrating because of the lack of time. Kids, work, etc. Maybe one day!

    • #10
    • May 1, 2014, at 2:00 PM PDT
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  11. Pencilvania Inactive

    I like the painting very much too. Can you explain, it sort of looks like metal relief or gold leaf — is the right side of it glowing from a photo flash or is it painted that way? How did you use the sand, for texture? I see the lovely texture of the rice paper.

    • #11
    • May 1, 2014, at 3:00 PM PDT
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  12. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister

    Pencilvania:

    I like the painting very much too. Can you explain, it sort of looks like metal relief or gold leaf — is the right side of it glowing from a photo flash or is it painted that way? How did you use the sand, for texture? I see the lovely texture of the rice paper.

     Thank you, Pencilvania. The right side glows because it’s painted that way, but it is brighter in this photograph, not from the flash but from the light in the room. The painting shifts and changes to some degree from whatever angle you’re looking at it and depending on the light. But it is brighter on that side. I wanted the painting to have a an organic feel to it. I often put natural substances in my paintings. The sand is a sand gel medium mixed in with the paint all over the painting. It’s not put on thick, but it creates texture. That way you can touch and feel the painting. If ever I had my paintings in public, I wouldn’t want glass on them. I would want people to touch them (not healthy for the paintings long term, but I do like to put that aspect into my work.) The painting is on cold-pressed paper, and the leaves, as you noticed are made from rice paper which I cut out. It does have a sculpted look, but it’s all paint on the paper. The depth comes not so much from the rice paper as the shading. There isn’t gold leaf. That’s just gold acrylic paint (something else I enjoy working with). It shifts light, which is interesting to me. The other colors are ultramarine blue and alizarin crimson. Those are the only colors I used, along with the gold.

    • #12
    • May 1, 2014, at 3:33 PM PDT
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  13. Arahant Member

    Ekphrastic they call it, responding to art with art: a poem about a painting, sculpture for a song, whole rooms and churches dedicated to a life, a well-lived life that changed the world. A life as art? We open eyes to new mornings, new ways of life that let the art flow freely, unchained by old thoughts. “Look ye upon my soul!” cries the artist in pain, or joy perhaps, although it’s mostly pain that drives them to the brink of madness, tears, and elation. Elation? Yes. Catharsis. Wiped clean by the act ejaculatory, the art that touched our Ba has merged to be a part of us, ours and not ours, a child born of parents, a child of living art.

    • #13
    • May 1, 2014, at 8:44 PM PDT
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  14. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister

    Arahant:

    Ekphrastic they call it, responding to art with art: a poem about a painting, sculpture for a song, whole rooms and churches dedicated to a life, a well-lived life that changed the world. A life as art? We open eyes to new mornings, new ways of life that let the art flow freely, unchained by old thoughts. “Look ye upon my soul!” cries the artist in pain, or joy perhaps, although it’s mostly pain that drives them to the brink of madness, tears, and elation. Elation? Yes. Catharsis. Wiped clean by the act ejaculatory, the art that touched our Ba has merged to be a part of us, ours and not ours, a child born of parents, a child of living art.

    Thank you, Arahant, for your beautiful words. Makes me think of Plato’s forms.

    • #14
    • May 1, 2014, at 8:58 PM PDT
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  15. Arahant Member

    Speaking of forms, I purposefully hid that poetic form. Can you find it?

    • #15
    • May 1, 2014, at 9:07 PM PDT
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  16. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Is iconography art? Or a craft and a spiritual exercise?

    Iconographers often don’t sign their work, believing icons should remain anonymous windows into heaven. Moreover, iconographers are often asked to copy ancient icons faithfully, if not exactly. Icons are painted using ritualized poses, ritualized colors, ritualized faces and drapery.

    Nonetheless, the individual iconographer’s hand is still visible in the finished work, albeit with some iconographers more than others.

    I once watched an iconographer at work as part of an art museum exhibition. After she had finished showing us how she gessoed her boards, hand-sifted egg yolks for her tempera, etc, she opened the floor for questions.

    I had noticed that one of her icons had a small, emerald-colored hummingbird at its apex, hovering where one might expect a dove. Hummingbirds are New World birds, certainly not a part of historic iconography. So I asked about it.

    “I’m glad you asked, ” she said. “I think of the Holy Spirit as a hummingbird.” Evidently, such innovation was permitted in her craft. Subtle as it was, it stood out, especially against her otherwise traditional craftsmanship. I will not forget that hummingbird.

    I thought of her work as art.

    • #16
    • May 1, 2014, at 9:26 PM PDT
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  17. Arahant Member

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake: I thought of her work as art.

    It was art. Just as a poet who uses forms creates art, even if taking a form and subject that has been seen before. There is more discipline in the iconography. It always has to tell the same story. But it should be done as art, not just a craft.

    • #17
    • May 1, 2014, at 9:32 PM PDT
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  18. Pencilvania Inactive

    Arahant, I hope after a reasonable guessing time, you tell what poetic form & where. Some of us are unschooled but now you’ve piqued our curiosity.

    • #18
    • May 2, 2014, at 3:42 AM PDT
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  19. Nealfred Member
    Nealfred Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The Sweetgum leaves remind me of the Stars and Stripes in our nations flag especially when linking the article with the picture. This I find somewhat disturbing because the stars in the flag represent individual free states. The leaves in the picture painting (very nice) have stems and the stems are detached that means they are likely beautiful (as in fall colors) but dying. Perhaps I’m being a bit overanalytical. Overall, I enjoyed both the picture/painting and the article but would probably have only posted the picture as sometimes words are too much.

    • #19
    • May 2, 2014, at 4:18 AM PDT
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  20. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister

    Arahant:

    Speaking of forms, I purposefully hid that poetic form. Can you find it?

    Beauty is Plato’s form. Interestingly, though, when it comes to poetry, he didn’t consider it beautiful. He saw poetry as immoral. But other art–painting and music as well as the souls of people, life itself–all represent “beauty.”

    • #20
    • May 2, 2014, at 6:15 AM PDT
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  21. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister

    Nealfred:

    The Sweetgum leaves remind me of the Stars and Stripes in our nations flag especially when linking the article with the picture. This I find somewhat disturbing because the stars in the flag represent individual free states. The leaves in the picture painting (very nice) have stems and the stems are detached that means they are likely beautiful (as in fall colors) but dying. Perhaps I’m being a bit overanalytical. Overall, I enjoyed both the picture/painting and the article but would probably have only posted the picture as sometimes words are too much.

     Interesting. I can be the queen of overanalyzing, so I’m sympathetic. :) But, the painting has nothing to do with the stars and stripes or the states. I included it because every leaf is different, individual, having a beauty all its own. Ironically, leaves are most colorful and most beautiful when they’re dying. But that’s not part of the painting’s theme. Just the beauty of each individual.

    • #21
    • May 2, 2014, at 6:22 AM PDT
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  22. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister

    Nealfred:

    Overall, I enjoyed both the picture/painting and the article but would probably have only posted the picture as sometimes words are too much.

    I have to agree. A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say. Maybe I should just post my art? :) Seriously, I’m not at Rico as an artist, but a writer. Still, I do appreciate the power of an image—especially one that conveys the good and the true. Plato’s kalon, “beauty.”

    • #22
    • May 2, 2014, at 6:27 AM PDT
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  23. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Is iconography art? Or a craft and a spiritual exercise? 

    While a craft can certainly stray into the artistic realm, I do think there’s a profound difference between art and craft. One is not necessarily “better” than the other. It depends on what you want out of it and what the goal is. So it’s a matter of what “is,” not what is “best.”

    What “is” is that craft is about technical skill and creating something to be useful. The craftsman hones his ability and can predict the response people will have to it as to its functionality, it’s purpose. Art is, as Kant said, “intrinsically final.” It has no practical purpose and is a form of “communication” not function (though some art can have functional aspects to it). The artist also has skill and ability, but he uses that skill not to produce something useful with precision, but to produce something that expresses the sublime, emotions, the spiritual. The effect on others is unknown, unpredictable. It’s about cultivating the human spirit.

    There are craftsman, though, that put imagination and spiritual “communication” into their craft. They explore the unknown through their craft and express themselves on an emotional level. When they do this, they cross over into art.

    • #23
    • May 2, 2014, at 6:43 AM PDT
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  24. Arahant Member

    D.C. McAllister: Interestingly, though, when it comes to poetry, he [Plato] didn’t consider it beautiful. He saw poetry as immoral.

     He also thought that the educated and intelligent should rule the world. Fails every time it’s tried.

    • #24
    • May 2, 2014, at 6:52 AM PDT
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  25. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    D.C. McAllister:

    Art is, as Kant said, “intrinsically final.” It has no practical purpose and is a form of “communication” not function (though some art can have functional aspects to it).

    Um… communication is fairly functional, and often has a practical purpose. Even reaching out to touch another’s soul can also be a practical act, as most of us need that sort of communion with someone sometimes in order to live sane, productive lives.

    No offense to Kant, but I’m not sure how good Kant was at art. Did he do any art, or just write about it? I think philosophies of art are more likely to be realistic (not that there’s any guarantee) coming from those who have practical experience doing art. Like you.

    • #25
    • May 2, 2014, at 7:31 AM PDT
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  26. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Nealfred:

    The leaves in the picture painting (very nice) have stems and the stems are detached that means they are likely beautiful (as in fall colors) but dying. Perhaps I’m being a bit overanalytical.

    Not over-analytical, I think. You’re just saying what you think.

    For me, the leaves, even though their colors and scattering strongly suggest fall, are abstracted enough that I don’t see them as dying things.

    Even so, the prodigality of nature in autumn is pretty impressive. Most of us will never have gold and rubies scattered before our feet unless we live in a place with good autumn color and take a walk after the leaves have fallen.

    the glory is fallen out of
    the sky the last immortal
    leaf
    is dead and the gold
    year
    a formal spasm
    in the
    dust

    this is the passing of all shining things
    therefore we also
    blandly
    into receptive
    earth, O let
    us
    descend

    take
    shimmering wind
    these fragile splendors from
    us crumple them hide

    them in thy breath drive
    them in nothingness
    for we
    would sleep

    this is the passing of all shining things
    no lingering no backward-
    wondering be unto
    us O

    soul, but straight
    glad feet fear ruining
    and glory girded
    faces

    lead us
    into the
    serious
    steep darkness

    –Amores #5, e e cummings

    • #26
    • May 2, 2014, at 12:23 PM PDT
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  27. Arahant Member

    After 21 hours, I’m not seeing any guesses, so the answer is that it is a form of blank verse in Alexandrines:

    Ekphrastic they call it, responding to art with art:
    a poem about a painting, sculpture for a song,
    whole rooms and churches dedicated to a life,
    a well-lived life that changed the world. A life as art?
    We open eyes to new mornings, new ways of life
    that let the art flow freely, unchained by old thoughts.
    “Look ye upon my soul!” cries the artist in pain,
    or joy perhaps, although it’s mostly pain that drives
    them to the brink of madness, tears, and elation.
    Elation? Yes. Catharsis. Wiped clean by the act
    ejaculatory, the art that touched our Ba
    has merged to be a part of us, ours and not ours,
    a child born of parents, a child of living art.

    • #27
    • May 2, 2014, at 2:13 PM PDT
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  28. Pencilvania Inactive

    All right, had to look it up: ‘In syllabic verse, such as that used in French literature, an alexandrine is a line of twelve syllables. Most commonly, the line is divided into two equal parts by a caesura between the sixth and seventh syllables. Alternatively, the line is divided into three four-syllable sections by two caesuras.’

    Very accomplished – thank you for the lesson.

    • #28
    • May 2, 2014, at 2:58 PM PDT
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  29. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Nealfred:

    The leaves in the picture painting (very nice) have stems and the stems are detached that means they are likely beautiful (as in fall colors) but dying. Perhaps I’m being a bit overanalytical.

    Not over-analytical, I think. You’re just saying what you think.

    For me, the leaves, even though their colors and scattering strongly suggest fall, are abstracted enough that I don’t see them as dying things.

    Even so, the prodigality of nature in autumn is pretty impressive. Most of us will never have gold and rubies scattered before our feet unless we live in a place with good autumn color and take a walk after the leaves have fallen.

    the glory is fallen out of the sky the last immortal leaf is dead and the gold year a formal spasm in the dust

    this is the passing of all shining things therefore we also blandly into receptive earth, O let us descend

    take shimmering wind these fragile splendors from us crumple them hide

    them in thy breath drive them in nothingness for we would sleep

    this is the passing of all shining things no lingering no backward- wondering be unto us O

    soul, but straight glad feet fear ruining and glory girded faces

    lead us into the serious steep darkness

    –Amores #5, e e cummings

     Thank you so much for posting this poem, Midge. It is a perfect companion to my painting. 

    • #29
    • May 2, 2014, at 3:15 PM PDT
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  30. Dave Matheny Member

    “Performance artist Marina Abramovic understood this in her work “The Artist is Present” at the Museum of Modern Art in 2010. The exhibition was simple. Marina sat in a chair for hours as people came one by one to sit across from her and look into her eyes. Some people wept. Some laughed. Some seemed to pray. No one said a word, but in those moments, as Marina allowed herself to be present, to connect with the person across from her, art was created: The beauty of human connection in the midst of presence and encounter—two individuals, fully aware, joining as one. ”

    As a painter schooled in traditional classical realism, I can only sigh and roll my eyes at the idea that the above is “art”. An interesting psychological exercise? Sure. An easy way to make a buck? Definitely! But art? NO. The emperor is wearing no clothes, and no amount of pseudo-intellectual analysis is going to change that. JMath

    • #30
    • May 2, 2014, at 9:42 PM PDT
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