art as an expression for the search for truth

art as an expression for the search for truth

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The moderns threw off representation saying if we’ll represent it is not just visual. Emotions and thought interpret what we see. Thus Surrealism, Expressionism. And vision itself is not a single plane of vision. Cubism, Impressionism. More than that, closer to reality we proclaim that painting is not a story, picturing something outside of itself, like words, that refer to something else other than the letters we see. Rather the power of painting is in its visuality; thus painting is essentially colors on a canvas, an object of arranged design, and all great painting derives from its power of visual organization, not in the great theme that it represents. “There are many ‘great themes’ painted poorly.” And conversely simple mundane themes brought great art, i.e.: the Potato Eaters of Van Gogh. Water Lilies of Monet. Therefore the Abstract Expressionists (perhaps) said that the theme should be the inner life of the artist, that which moves him to paint, and beautiful form will be an expression of his inner clarity. And thus many painters found their own original forms and motifs to express their inner life. I.e. Picasso, Miro, Pollack, DeKooning, Chagall, Kandinsky, Rothko, Newman, etc. etc. etc. Modern artists (perhaps) searched for inner truth, and universal forms and symbols. They searched east, and west, back to the ancients and into the subconscious to find universal themes of man and his world. From all this a simple picture emerges. Man’s search for relevant form in art is coincident with his general search for truth. Art is essentially man’s desire to express the truth that he has found.

Although there is now no doubt in my mind that art-making can be entirely a process of search and revelation of the truth that the artist is able to succeed in grasping; and, furthermore, is an awesome tool for such a purpose; nevertheless, it is equally simple to me that it is entirely dependent upon the will of the artist, and if he is not so interested in truth he will utilise his artmaking for other purposes. Therefore it is not so easy to maintain that man in general, or artists in general, or any artist in particular, is searching for truth or not. Each case must be looked at individually, and only the Knower of man’s hearts knows the truth.

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