Exploring the world opened up by a work of art
This week’s showcase:
“Further Studies: Lark in the Morning “
Mixed media on board, 35″ x 47″
The following are excerpts from the artist Patrick Graham about the making of art, not specifically about the work featured here, but about the making of art as he has come to know it.
I simply love and exult in the physical charge of making art, the coming together of a mark, from heel to full arch of the arm and hand, and the “full chorus” around mind, body, and spirit emptied out…to silence and stillness which is both the beginning and the end…
In this world of silence, no truth exists, there is the abandonment of power that truth manifestly becomes in that other world of dogma, ideology and aesthetic certainty.
Art really is a religious notion. And the function of art is to redeem us in some way, whereas nowadays, we reduce everything.
Like all conversations, essays, or indeed explanations on a topic, the demand is almost always for a conclusive rationale, whether political, religious or academic. As well, these conclusions/opinions have an element of defense and are nearly all locked into the protectionism and the ‘aboutism’ of this or that and never of the fact that some things just are and are beyond the claims of reason and logic.
I know that I know lots of stuff. Brought to a canvas, this became an impossible barrier to a truthful mark or the near possibility of such. I’m not talking about anything big or revelationary here. Presently I work in a great deal of hope and some amount of faith. This present and maybe simple belief is much more hard-earned than is apparent in its easy saying.
There is a death in art that you won’t hear much about. Neither will you hear too often that knowledge can become a prison and finally death to creative hope. In arriving at this point is the great paradox. All of one’s learning about art, all of the knowing that it is possible to squeeze from the history of art necessary until one knows what the God of art is, and where every mark is a plea for affirmation and consent both from history and from the critic. The great paradox is that this knowledge itself tells one that to go on one must free oneself from its harness and suffocating weight. Knowledge, knowing, and cleverness can all too easily become theatricality and cunning in art, and truth replaced by or with style, always remembering that great historical admonition. “Style is the enemy of art, all style is the enemy of all art.”
In coming to terms with this conceit, there is the hope of a resurrection to nothing and grace. In nothing is hope. Those who use knowledge as a tyranny will demand that you must know and explain, the idea is all and that art without certainty is meaningless.
For me, then, I believe art is not certain things. Not an entertainment. Not the playground of academics, critics, and curators. Not another ‘ism’ to end all ‘isms’. Not a new history but part of an older history made by those who saw in the dark.
Finally, it doesn’t matter anymore and one is at ease in the no-man’s-land between knowledge and nothing.
There have been times of grace, great beauty, (visceral and primal, transcendent and timeless) and thinking always. There was the failure of heart, mind, hand and eye in their own times. But when all sang together there was always nearly something.
Suffering to know things, dying to feel things, fearing our end, loving in spite of it all, that’s pretty much the whole of it, then, isn’t it now…?