Art is a peculiar beast due to its subjectivity. Everyone has their own conception of what art is. For me, in the early stages where I met art. I fell in love with the endless possibilities of how a subject matter could be portrayed through the eyes of the artist. How close the painter could replicate what they can see. Viewing something recognisable was a revelation and curiosity. It made me want to develop my skills and run off into the sunset with my brushes and paints!
That’s how my art adventures began. (Kinda.)
Fast forward many years. I now find myself at a crossroad, where the substance of what I see and feel, battles against the picturesque ideals I grew up with. Painting something with the visual clarity of a droplet of water opposed to capturing the essence of energy seemed to be a juxtaposition I was unfamiliar with. Possibly my love for the Impressionists started here. I could still take joy in creating beautiful landscapes with a whimsical air of impressions. And not be tied down to the constraints of picture-perfect realism.
Yet, the image of JMW Turner, strapping himself to the mast of a sailing ship caught in a storm, kept surfacing. His need to capture that essence, that moment, through feeling intrigued me. I suppose, that is probably where painting through feeling ultimately comes from. It’s my way of seeking a way to make the intangible tangible – but still allow it to be as elusive and curious as ever. If ever that makes sense!
So the quote:
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”Aristotle
got me thinking between these two opposing ideas. It’s such a bold statement: an either or or situation; why does it have to be one or the other? What purpose does it gain? This, in my humble opinion, goes back to the purpose of the art. What is the purpose of art?
Art is a peculiar beast
Art is subjective. Art is art to (depending on) the eye of the beholder. As artists, we can fall into the trap of painting for the beholder, than for what we want to portray.
This is where I am at – where I am battling with. On the precipice of a ledge, a crossroad – that cusp where boundless possibilities are at arms reach. I paint through the motion of feeling, experiencing the energies and auras around me. Responding to those senses and capturing onto the page, the canvas. Mark-making beyond what’s taught – expressing through the act of feeling. That’s one aspect of my art. That is a kind of inward significance, but a response in relation to an intangible subject. The other aspect of my art, is more challenging – in that, the subject matter feels like a tug of war. Where one side is focused on presenting a picture perfect representation of what identity means to me. Including how the constraints supplied through my upbringing and societal rules add to that. And on the other side, a more fluid, loose and flowing representation expresses the unseen through colour and mark-making. That tug and pull between the two, that dynamism, is where I feel the inward significance is for me. That borderline hybrid of existence which toys with reality on differing planes and ideals is where art is. This is what holds true for me.
Well, for now at least.
How do you manage dilemma’s like these? Art or otherwise?