Sunday, June 25, 2017

"All That Jazz"  Artist Christine Alfery

                Is reality nothing more than a narrative? A visual and or linguistic construction that can be controlled and that controls what we say and how we think?  I reality nothing more than words and images?  If reality is nothing more than a visual or linguistic construction than reality is a figment of what we imagine, what we create and what we produce. Reality is then governed, controlled, by and through words and images and how we think, how we know and how we live would then be governed by words and images. 
                If this is indeed the case, then those who create and produce are the ones who govern. And the question is no longer what is real but how is what we imagine to be real governed, how are we governed? Historians seem to agree that we are in the process of a change in how things are understood. The historical era of modernism is integrating into the post-modern or neo-modern. Today subjectivity dominates were all things are relative and no one thing, has more value than another. The glue that holds this relativism together seems to be socialism or social progress.  So it is no surprise that our subjective words and images, our notion of I, has melted into the social stickiness of how to govern, how to think, how to create change and movement towards a richer life and way of understanding and knowing things. 
Art is no stranger to this social relativism, where subjective relativism seems to reign. And if what is happening in art is any hint of what is to become our governing agent it will be the consensus of the subjective.
This way of governing destroys the subjective I.  It has destroyed art. Where uniqueness, independence, originality once was defined the subjective I, now uniqueness, independence and originality appear to be a rare occurrence in images and in words.  
We need to return to a notion of reality isn’t just words, images or anything we can imagine and create and then say it is so is so.   That would make reality filled with only wishful, hopeful, thinking and ways of knowing. Reality needs to be objective and to be objective it needs to have a materiality to it and not just wishful thinking and imagining. Thinking about reality in this manner would change how we think about the subjective I.  We need to see the subjective I as objective and complex, not just hopeful, but also sorrowful, not just sublime but also filled with chaos, there needs to be a struggle for the subjective I to exist and for an image to become works of “art.”
What would objective words and images in art, society and culture.  It would respect the I as a thing in itself, subjective, but it would not expect the subjective I to govern art, society or culture. Controlling art, society and culture should be based on a reality that is objective, not imagined and created out of wishful thinking.

How does that relate to my work which is filled with the imaginary is something I am struggling with? I do recognize though that there is more value to what I create if my fluid struggle is evident, and if an idea or concept emerges that inspires one to think differently about how things are governed and controlled.  Inspires one to think differently and is free to be able to do so.  It seems impossible that the subjective forms into a collective subjective, which is an oxymoron to say the least, but it has.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

"Sunflower"  Artist Christine Alfery

A couple of weeks ago I stated that I was again thinking about "what is art?" Tough question and Hedy Mainmann reponded that art is like life. I ask is art really like life? She isn't the only person who has made that statement. It is a simple statement but the complexity of thought behind it has been discussed for many years. If art is life does it imitate life? Just the word imitate causes a problem for me. Without going into huge detail I will just say no imitation - if it is art it is a thing in itself. 
Several years ago I wrote a paper on Michel Foucaults statement "Why should the lamp or the house be an art object, but not our life." I agree our life can be an art object as Foucault suggests here - but I disagree than just any lamp, or house can be an art object - not just anything can be "art." Many things can imitate art but not many things can be "art." 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Kandinsky and Rhythm

"Figuring It Out"  Artist Christine Alfery Watercolor and Acrylic on Paper.

Wassily Kandinsky continued. How to Be an Artist, According to Wassily Kandinsky

For the past three posts I have been making comments on an ARTSY EDITORIAL BY RACHEL LEBOWITZ JUN 12TH, 2017 7:07 PM. This is post 4 on "How to Be an Artist, According to Wassily Kandinsky."

Lesson #4 Inject rhythm into your painting, like a musical score.
It makes sense that Kandinsky would link rhythm to his work. His lines and mark making are very gestural. And it makes sense that Kandinsky would say as he did in #1 that art expresses the inner world of the artist, and not artistic trends, and in #2 where he states that an artist should not paint things, but paint in abstract form. Kandinsky was an abstract expressionist. 
Again though I return to the concept of the abstraction. A materialist would conclude that the concept of the abstraction or abstract art is a frill, an indulgence unrelated to reason or to man’s life in this world. Could this be Kandinsky’s abstraction? The spiritualist would agree to the materialists concept of abstraction but would also go off into parts unknown and non material. Many say Kandinsky was not interested in this concept of abstraction. 
Kandinsky’s notion of abstraction and in turn abstract expressionionism, I believe is how he lived and how he searched for freedom. A freedom not linked to some mystical notion that could not be seen, but in a metaphysical notion of what could be imagined, and explored and intertwined with what is worldly. Abstract Expressionism was Kandinsky’s way of talking, expressing how he understood freedom. It was filled with rhythm, and movement and color and self. For Kandinsky his art was ties to his need to survive, not physically, but his need to survive in his consciousness, in his mind.
The mind is conceptual, it is a consciousness which integrates with philosophical values, like ethics, and freedom and choice. To inject rhythm into his work, like a musical score was to inject as Kandinsky stated his inner world and the conceptual conscious choice to integrate it with reality and to integrate it with his own happiness. That is how I understand Kandinsky, that is how I understand his work, and that is how Kandinsky has influenced so much of what I do.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

How to Be an Artist, According to Wassily Kandinsky


  Lesson #2. Don’t paint things. Paint in abstract form. 
               Don’t paint things, but rather paint in abstract form, the editorial by Rachel Lebonwitz went on to say, “Monet’s now -iconic haystacks were an early influence on Kandinsky, who was struck by his own inability to identify the real world objects that the forms referenced. At first taken aback by this disconnect,” which I must admit I too have been taken aback, “Kandinsky soon embraced its possibilities, eventually insisting upon art that was not only abstracted but entirely non-representational.” And again Rachel Lebonwitz refers to the artists interior world, as if that world was an abstract form, that perhaps is “simplier” or different than the real world. Perhaps more imaginary and "non-representational."
               At the time that Kandinsky painted, his ideas created change in how one thinks about art. His works and ideas were revolutionary. But now because his thoughts have become common place, and abstract works are indeed "non-representational" and indeed do not represent even simple forms I find it hard to call this kind of work "art." There needs to be some some connection to reality – abstract works that represent nothing, cannot be art, as they are nothing. If even the simpliest forms represent something to the artist or the viewer then there is content and perhaps meaning and some value to the work which "might" be eventually be called "art."

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Individual Artist and the Collective Concept of Freedom.

There are five lessons here from Kandinsky - I will just comment on one today.
"Kandinsky did not intend for his theories to be prescriptive. Artmaking, he insisted, was about freedom. Nevertheless, there are several lessons that artists should heed if they are to meet Kandinsky’s requirements. We start with five below."
Lesson #1: Express your inner world, not the latest artistic trends.
I totally agree that artmaking is about freedom. Two points - here the concept of freedom - if art is about a collective freedom then it isn't about the artists inner world? I think the point here is that the artist, does not have the power to create entities out of a void, the inner self being a void as the inner self is only interesting to the inner self and very subjective. This subjectivity makes art everything and anythings. In order to entertain the notion of freedom along with the self the notion of freedom needs to be objective not subjective. To make art totally subjective creates contradictions and a whole bunch of nothings. But then how does the artist make their subjectivity into the objective world that is out there and have it become a collective thought? The artist has the power to bring into existence an arrangement, integrations of natural elements that have not existed before. Artists have the power to change, creatively not forcefully, what is there into something beautiful. The self of the artist is not the self of the viewer or another artist, but linking this power to self and the notion of freedom there is then a collective creative concept of freedom that is a beautiful idea. This way of thinking as Kandinsky suggested cannot be prescriptive - yet at the same time can relate to freedom. It is a very tough thing to accomplish as we all fall into the trap of thinking our thoughts about freedom and self are the same as another individuals or artists thoughts.