Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Art and Purpose

We have come to a point in History of great change, both in how we must live to survive and thrive as a species in this world, and in our view of ourselves. Of our place in the Universe, in our relationships to one another, and our Purpose for being, our relationship with God.

We in the West have lost our way. Consumed with ourselves, our lives built around things of this world to give us self-worth, and inward desires that place our own personal happiness and well being before all. Where the virtues of humility, sacrifice, and responsibility have no worth. We have become disconnected, from one another, our world, god, and ultimately, from ourselves. We replaced what is good and humble about mankind with personal avarice, collecting things, placing our self worth on what we have, instead of who we are, where character counts. Fulfillment and Purpose are ignored, and so we are hollow. The contentment of being at one with mankind, nature and God has been denied, leaving us un-satiated, always craving for more. The relentless pursuit of temporal happiness, of individual glorification, of instant self-gratification, has left us voracious, and without peace in our hearts. Avarice replaced responsibility as our highest goal in life.

Art has always been the embodiment of Purpose in humanity. It was the physical manifestation of who we are as a people. It identified each group, whether tribal, national, ethnic, or religious based. Markings of cloth, pottery, housing, temples, even personal jewelry and body paintings or tattoos identified to all who one was. How each was different, and yet included in ones own separate group .It could identify each individual within the society, into castes, slaves, rank or wealth. But Creative Art always bound us together, all in the group were of the whole, of one mind, of one Purpose, of one family.

Art signified our meaning within existence, of Nature, of the world that surrounded us. We sought in the stars and seasons why we were here, to understand them, to better survive, to know when to plant crops, to harvest, to take shelter. We explored the animals and plants around us, giving each a role in our lives. Finding places on the Earth that we felt most connected to it, where we could bond together, and be at one. Creative Art visualized this in an attempt to understand, to be at one with nature, so we could thrive as a people. It sought the patterns and structure within the world around us, so we could grow as a whole, and fulfill our role within society. It explored in its own creation, finding balance and truth in the reflection of the layers of existence around us. It sought to heighten the passion of living, by revealing what is, simplifying the chaos we felt surrounded us, when truly there was order, a Purpose that could be found and revealed through Art.

Art decorated and enhanced our Temple’s to God. In clothing, decorations, pictures and Icons, we attempted to connect to more. We created Holy places, where one could focus on what was beyond us, to receive knowledge and grace. To worship what was beyond our understanding, to find Purpose in life. Reasons for our existence. Creative art sought God in each other, in nature, and ourselves. We worked out in each piece the multi-layered patterns of life, what revealed the existence of more, of an energy beyond the sum of our parts, that gave each work an inner life. A glow of truth, that reflected the Purpose of Gods creation. It sought a personal connection to God. A feeling of being intensely alive. Through purely visual means revealing, uncovering, embodying the very essence of life that God has given us. An inner peace, a knowledge beyond words that we are all one.

Creative Art sought to visually reveal all, through line, color, and structure. As in Music’s melody, harmony and rhythm, it is at its best when poetic and flowing. Not literary, not telling others how to think, what to feel, not illustrating individual ideas and desires. With Modern Art, we came to view all of humanity as one. No more differences in surface, both unique as individuals, yet bonded as a common humanity at heart. For in mind, body and soul we are. Cezanne sought to create ones own visual language, where Philosophy, Science, and Theology were unified. Humanity, Nature and God as one. Mind, body and soul revealed, and Purpose achieved. Forms were created to express not ourselves, but what is, not just as we perceive our world, but what we know and the truth we feel.. It was a way to approach god, to worship his Creation, which we are all a part of.

But during decadent times, art reveals how apart from God we are. Where the individual’s fears, desires, and arrogance create a gilded age, one where man becomes the measure of all things, and attempts to be god himself. To assume to control life, where luxury is the goal, where things have more value than character. An age of excess, where there are no consequences, that man puts himself on a pedestal, and the individual is all. A time of division, of splintering for marketing forces to sell and buy, where everything is a commodity, including art, and man.

Contemporary art did this. The same forces that were in control during the age of the Salon, the last gilded age, reasserted themselves, through art academies, and shallow mediocrity was enforced. Where the way to art was as a commodity, a bought degree, a control of mind, where the individual was marketed as a glorified being, an artiste, and so special in his own eyes, if not the world’s. For this edifice became less and less connected to reality, to humanity, to god. They came up with their own separate ideas of what art is, a pretense to power, to be the Pharisee’s of art. Controlling what was presented to the world to amuse, gratify, and enhance the desires of their patron’s, the very people who brought our current economic and ecological disaster upon all.

That age is now over. A new time is upon us, where we must reappraise who we are. To reconnect to one another, to nature, to God. Man is not the center of the Universe. We are a creation of gods, a part of the whole. His mercy and love are all we have, his Purpose our contentment, our denial our doom. For God’s purpose is for mankind’s benefit, not useless rules as that of the Academy’s, created for the professional artists career. . Creative art must again reflect Us, over I. We are important, not the individuals ideas, nor exhibitionist desires and arrogance. But where works are inclusive, not exclusive. Where we attempt in each work to uncover who we are, as we explore our world, and seek to reflect Gods will. For we have lost our Purpose.

Creative Art is a means to approach Truth, not own it or claim to know Gods mind, the ultimate blasphemy, as arrogance goes before the fall. Each work must be humbly approached, where the motif is but a part, the entire work being an exploration, resolving supposed contradiction, which are of our limited minds, not reality. No person, place or thing more important than another, we are all made of the same stuff. All a part of creation. But built up in a complex layering of relationships, simplified to approach the Truth and Order within, to know Purpose. It cannot be owned, for it is Gods, not ours, but we can share in it. As One. We can recognize Truth, and follow it, art being but one path among many. This is creative arts roll in life. For we all have a purpose within society, to allow mankind to grow, thrive and live in balance, in inner peace. Art abandoned this long ago, as did our entire culture. Now is the time to find our way once more. We must, or we will fall. Together.


Art News Blog said...

You must have figured out the comment thing.

And in such a materialistic world where money is the next most valued thing to air it's unrealistic to think that an artist could do anything but think about their art as a career. Money is our god and we cant even live a modest life without it unless we become completely feral (logging would put a stop to it even if you tried).

You have to sell yourself and do the contemporary thing or learn to beg.. or get a job that you dont like which eats up all your time.

I think I have found a happy medium where I work half the day and paint the other half. So it keeps me in the real world but I can still paint whenever I want. And I dont have to sell paintings which means I have been creating stuff that I want to do. So I dont have to wonder if it will look good in a gallery or on a collector's wall because I dont care. For me, art is about fun.

william wray said...

The story on Blue collar artist Albert Contreras kind of plays out a theory of mine. I sometimes think that the unschooled creative impulse to make something wither it be needlepoint or painting one's mailbox was brilliantly harnessed by talent less art intellectuals some 60 years ago as part of a coup to wipe out tired old academia's rules that made doing art so darn hard. Harness the impulsive energy of a typical carver of duck decoys; fill his empty head with art theory to legitimize the ejaculation of creative nothing. The tired old rebels of conceptual art are fading fast, the Frankenstein artists they created will fall, I'm so glad real art is coming back.