mardi 25 septembre 2012

A gentle plea for chaos.

light rain, wind and sun. oil on paper. 150x150cms.

Because that is how it seems to be. The state of chaos out of which one tries to construct order. Yet in the midst of this is something that I for one need to recognise: I have been thinking about what painting is and does (I have touched upon this before) and, if I can narrow it down to landscape based painting, what Kenneth Clarke speculated upon in his comments on the future (then 1947) of landscape painting.
"Can we escape from our fears by creating once again the image of an enclosed garden? It is a possible way of life: is it a possible basis for art?" He concludes that it is not: that Science has taught us that the idea of the enclosed garden of the fifteenth century, based upon a living idea of a friendly and harmonious nature is not the case and that nature is the reverse and that we shall not recover our confidence in her until we have learnt a great deal more.
 So can we find a more imaginative approach and discover a new sense of unity with the world? Some biologists argue that there is hope, E.O.Wilson is one, and I am reading The Origins of Virtue, by Matt Ridley for another view but Wilson describes a dilemma as "the machine in the garden": The natural world is the refuge of the spirit, remote, static, richer even than human imagination. But we cannot exist in this paradise without the machine which tears it apart. For him, the role of science, like of art, is to blend exact imagery with more distant meaning and the unique province of the artist is to offer images which represent a reparation in the spiritual realm. So out of the chaos that we might begin with in the process of painting, the myriad problems of looking, editing, contemplating comes a reordering and an understanding of what it is that we can extract and develop.

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