Wednesday, April 25, 2012
... which of course raises the age old question: what is the purpose of art? Eckhart Tolle says the purpose of all great art is to serve as a portal to the sacred. But what might be one man's portal could be another person's wall -- and does it matter if it's a portal for the artist, or for the viewer?
We were talking today, in my spirituality class, about those pre-cognitive "truths" -- the knowings that we took in before we were old enough to evaluate them for actual truthfulness; the things that guide our daily decisions in ways we often fail to understand.
For example -- I have a pre-cognitive assumption that I only have value if I am efficient, useful, and accomplish things. So something in me thinks everything I paint must be saleable -- a rather tall order for a relatively untutored artist -- and that something keeps me from just slapping paint around (efficient implies I don't waste much, you know).
So I thought, well, to circumvent the cost of paint and the fear of creating something not saleable, I'd copy paint from graffiti surfaces and slap that on a photograph instead -- it's easy enough to undo this sort of digital collage if I don't like it. This way I get the freedom of throwing paint around on a surface without the mess or fear of wasting -- PLUS it doesn't matter if it's not saleable, as all it cost was time.
The fun and the sense of freedom I felt doing it -- because it was totally random, exploring, being silly, not worrying about a sale, and not wasting anything but time -- well, that felt almost sacred; creating as a bond with Creator. So even as something as goofy as this can be a portal to the sacred for an artist who is trying to break through her blocks. But I can hardly assume that this image will be taking you, the viewer, to that sacred space.
And I think that's how I've been operating; that I have a sort of sacred duty to create art that serves as a portal to the sacred. Maybe this drive I've been experiencing, the drive to step from form into formless, is an attempt to assign value to finding my own portals; to strike a better balance between what pleases me and what pleases my viewers. And something in me thinks there's a sweet spot... no, not thinks, KNOWS there'll be a sweet spot, a place where what gives me enormous satisfaction will satisfy a viewer as well. I've found those moments before. Maybe I'll find them again in new places?
It's worth a try...
Posted by Diane Walker at 6:17 AM