misinformation and the creative mind

On the subject of creativity my soapbox is never far away.  This post outlines my observations – as an ancient maker and educator – rounding them out with quotes from the person whose insights had the greatest influence on the unfolding of my via creativa – physicist David Bohm.
It started out as a simple introduction to a new page on the site, David Bohm: On Creativity, a talk Bohm gave in 1967 to the Architects’ Association in London, but took on a life of its own.  As these things do.  The quotes in the post are from Bohm’s talk, with the exception of the last, which is from Bohm’s thought-provoking book Science, Order and Creativity, written with F. David Peat.  The artworks are by British environmental artist Chris Drury – a creative mind that never ceases to amaze me.  (See notes below.)


Chris Drury, Landscapes of the Heart

Chris Drury, Landscapes of the Heart
Echocardiogram monoprinted onto a bowl woven from watercolor paper and maps of the Pyrenees.
85 x 60 cm.  Collection Conquest Hospital.

 

A conversation between David Bohm and myself over lunch at Brockwood Park School turned my approach to and understanding of creativity on its head.
David knew that my role at the school was as a teacher of art and design, and that I was concerned the demands of producing work that would pass exams might be detrimental to my students’ innate creativity.  I asked him what they needed to know about creativity.  He replied, “Nothing.  They only need to understand what sabotages it.”

It’s ironic that the so-called information age has brought so much misinformation along with it.  In the euphoric enthusiasm for instant-access knowledge, it seems we missed the warnings (if there were any) that much of the information available to us would be inaccurate, and that the one tool guaranteed capable of sorting the fake from the true – a creative mind – would itself be shrouded in misinformation.  Here are a few prevalent notions about creativity that rattle my cage.


Everyone knows what creativity is.

Really?  Bohm opens his essay On Creativity by saying that in his view it is something that it is impossible to define in words.  The most we can say about it is that it appears to involve the emergence of some idea or information previously entirely unknown, and is typically accompanied by somatic and psychological sensations of harmony, rightness and wholeness.  Creativity can’t be found or measured.  Like the God concept, it’s a mystery so prevalent that it’s stopped being a mystery.   Some folk say one can only know ‘God’ by its absence; I’d say the same about creativity.   We know when we are suffering the ache of separation from the harmony, beauty and wholeness that are the hallmarks of a creative mind.  When we aren’t, there’s no one broadcasting; we are seamlessly intimate with/as THAT.  The blessing is that even when frustrated that we’ll never know what creativity is, and can’t manipulate or manage it in any way, we can remember what it feels like, because we were all kids, once upon a time, whole-heartedly playing, exploring, learning.  With no agenda, no purpose.  Just for the sake of it.

The creative state of mind … is, first of all, one whose interest in what is being done is wholehearted and total, like that of a young child.  With this spirit, it is always open to learning what is new, to perceiving new differences and new similarities, leading to new orders and structures, rather than always tending to impose familiar orders and structures in the field of what is seen.

Only this kind of whole-hearted interest will give the mind the energy needed to see what is new and different, especially when the latter seems to threaten what is familiar, precious, secure, or otherwise dear to us.

… it is well known that a child learns to walk, to talk, and to know his way around the world just by trying out something and seeing what happens, then modifying what he does (or thinks) in accordance with what actually happened.  In this way, he spends his first few years a wonderfully creative way…  As the child grows older, however, learning takes on a narrower meaning.  … his ability to see something new and originally gradually dies away.  And without it, there is evidently no ground from which anything really creative can grow.

 

Creativity can be schooled.

This is illogical.  If creativity can’t be found, defined or objectified, how can it be taught?  Creativity, like ‘enlightenment’, cannot be attained via techniques or magical formulae.  It’s not up for marketing, and if you believe it’s a transcendental trip you’ll never get near it.  Again like enlightenment, creativity is the means, not the end.  What we can learn, however, is how to recognise the ways we fail to be creative – the ways we are “mediocre and mechanical” in our responses to life.  Attending workshops and courses that offer immersion in a host of activities or projects – and participating with a wild and wondering mind – can be revelatory.*  In such contexts we can observe our mechanical, prejudiced reactions: “I can’t work with that color.”  “No way I can do that.”  “This is so sophomoric…”  Thus one’s conditioning is exposed and in that exposure anything is possible.  In that moment creativity can emerge.

… for thousands of years, people have been led to believe that anything and everything can be obtained if only one has the right techniques and methods.  What is needed is to be aware of the ease with which the mind slips comfortably back into this age-old pattern.  Certain kinds of things can be achieved by techniques and formulae, but originality and creativity are not among these.  The act of seeing this deeply (and not merely verbally or intellectually) is also the act in which originality and creativity can be born.

… if one is serious about being original and creative, it is necessary for him first to be original and creative about the reactions that are making him mediocre and mechanical.

No really creative transformation can possibly be effected by human beings, either in nature or in society, unless they are in the creative state of mind that is generally sensitive to the differences that always exist between the observed fact and any preconceived ideas, however noble, beautiful, and magnificent they may seem to be.

 

Chris Drury, Mani Stone Ladakh

Chris Drury, Mani Stone, Ladakh
Woven maps, earth, wax, rubbing from a prayer stone found along the way during a two week trek in Ladakh.
76 x 66 cm.  Private collection.

 

A creative mind is only important for scientists and arty types.

A cunningly devised hoax designed to keep the masses asleep.  It’s like the notion that only certain people are capable of creativity.  We all need creativity as much as the air we breathe.  It’s crucial for the health of our brain and body.  This isn’t woowoowaffle or magical mysticism; the science is in and available online and in dozens of publications.  And the thing is, it’s not only crucial for you and me, it’s crucial for the health of society and the alive, aware planet that we call home.  Have a look around: do you see intelligent, creative management of our resources – personal, societal or global?

Just as the health of the body demands that we breathe properly, so, whether we like it or not, the health of the mind requires that we be creative.

Indeed, it can be safely said that in the long run, no really subtle, deep and far-reaching problems can be solved in any field whatsoever, except by people who are able to respond in an original and creative way, to the ever changing and developing nature of the overall fact by which they are confronted.

 

Creativity is just an affirmative kind of thinking.

This misinformation is promoted by the purveyors of magical thinking and harkens back to the previous lies, which assert the creative mind is something that can be cultivated.  Fact 1: Creativity is the mind’s innately healthy state of functioning.  Fact 2: Everything is against us living and working in a creative manner.  From tinyhood we are programmed by family, religion, society, and our education, to conform, to adapt, to please, to never make mistakes – and above all – be loved and admired.  The good news is that anything mechanically programmed with misinformation can be given the reverse treatment: it can be erased.  Entirely erased, without replacement of data.  You don’t need to replace your thoughts with better ones, more creative ones.  You can live without mechanical thoughts.  Creatively.

[The] action of the creative state of mind is impossible if one is limited by narrow and petty aims, such as security, furthering of personal ambition, glorification of the individual or the state…

… originality and creativity begin to emerge, not as something that is the result of an effort to achieve a planned and formulated goal, but rather, as a by-product of a mind that is coming to a more nearly normal order of operation.  And this is the only way in which originality and creativity can possibly arise, since any effort to reach them through some planned series of actions or exercises is a denial of the very nature of what one hopes to achieve.  For this reason, originality and creativity can develop only if they are the essential force behind the very first step.

 

Chris Drury, Double Echo

Chris Drury, Double Echo
Echocardiogram of a research pilot superimposed over an echogram of the Antarctic icecap.
Inkjet print from Flight W38. 53″ x 45″. 2007

 

Conditioning has no impact on creativity.

This is the claim of those who haven’t understood the way conditioning works to impact everything.  (See above.)  Creativity calls for clean sheets.  The only way one encounters the wonder of creativity is by shifting the shit that sabotages it – meaning, one’s conditioned preconceptions and prejudices. Cellular.  Systemic.  And for the most part, unconscious.  Skilled help can be useful when diving into the density of the programming that is held and defended at all levels.  Seek the company of honest, awake, agenda-free folk who can assure you that you will not drown and your stories are mere mindstuff.  The free-fall into foolishness is way sweeter than any accolades from the art pundits of the world.  But it’s tricky and challenging work; I recommend participation in Bohmian Dialogue if there’s a group near you. Personally, I have noticed that any earnest intention on my part to clean up misinformation affecting my life always attracts information as to how to proceed.

If one is serious about being original and creative, it is necessary for him first to be original and creative about reactions that are making him mediocre and mechanical.  Then eventually the natural creative action of the mind may fully awaken, so that it will start to operate in a basically new order that is no longer determined mainly by the mechanical aspects of thought…

… when the mind is trying to escape the awareness of [inner] conflict, there is a very different kind of self-sustaining confusion, in which one’s deep intention is really to avoid perceiving the fact, rather than to ‘sort it out’ and make it clear.

… every time the mind tries to focus on its contradictions, it ‘jumps’ to something else.  It simply won’t stay with the point.  Either it continues to dart from one thing to another, or to react with violent excitement that limits all attention to some triviality, or to become ‘dead’, ‘dull’ or ‘anaesthetised’, or to project fantasies that cover up all the contradictions, or to do something else that makes one momentarily unaware of the painful state of conflict in which the mind is.  This order of self-sustaining confusion tends to spread to other fields, so that eventually the whole of the mind begins to deteriorate.

 

“Creative.”  That’s me.

Given the misinformation about genuine creativity it’s not surprising that the ego usurps the “creative” moniker willy-nilly.  This is common, thanks to the curricular agenda of most art schools.  However, once the radical nature of the movement of creativity is understood, it’s clear that if someone is claiming they are “a creative person” they’re probably using the wrong term.  Creativity isn’t personal, ever.  Inconveniently, creativity demands the abdication and absence of the so-called artist.  There’s a great deal of interesting, inventive and innovative work out there, but it can’t be called creative unless it has brought forth something of an entirely new order.  It’s so easy to mistake the mechanical movements of mind for creativity.  If your work is truly creative you’ll likely be on your knees before you know not what, you’ll be very hushed and humbled, and perhaps you’ll be saying to yourself, “Wow. I wish I’d thought of that!”

Now, as one can discover if he observes himself and other people carefully for a while, the fact is that the mind cannot help but assign supreme value in this way to whatever appears to be creative or necessary for creation.  It is therefore clear that the confusion of the creative with the mechanical will have extremely deep and far-reaching consequences for the whole of the mind, with effects going immensely beyond those of more narrow and restricted kinds of conflicts.  Indeed, what happens is that when the mechanical, mistaken for the creative, begins to display its inherent contradictions (so that its very existence seems to be threatened), the whole energies of mind and body are mobilized to ‘protect’ the apparently supremely precious thoughts and feelings that are thus ‘endangered’.  As has been indicated, it is enabled to do this by falling into a state of self-sustaining confusion, in which it is no longer aware of its contradictory thoughts and the painful conflicts that result from them.  In doing this, it lacks clear perception in almost any area that may be at all subtle.  Thus, it can no longer see what is creative and what is mechanical.  Indeed, the mind then starts to suppress real originality and creation, because these seem to threaten the apparently creative, but actually mechanical centre that appears to be at the heart of one’s ‘very self’.  It is just this action that constitutes the process of ‘falling asleep’.

The tendency to ‘fall asleep’ is sustained by an enormous number of habitually applied preconceptions and prejudices, most of which are absorbed at a very early age, in a tacit rather than explicit form.

 

Chris Drury, Jura Alps

Chris Drury, Jura Alps
Maps of the Jura and Alps cut into strips vertically and horizontally and woven together.
86 x 66 cm. Private collection.

 

Creativity makes no difference to the state of the world.

So tragically wrong.  Even when we’ve worked diligently to unpick our individual conditioning (misinformation that’s held as non-negotiable), we are still part of the deep tacit conditioning held within our societal and cultural context.  The most destructive piece of misinformation embedded in our society’s pattern is the one that insists we are a ‘self’ separate from everything else in creation.  This unexamined assumption is the source of all that sabotages the creative mind.  The cobbled-together thought-bubble self, built up belief-by-belief from our every life experience, resists examination in very inventive ways.  It sees a great threat in the embrace of the ‘unknown’ or ‘immeasurable’. It is incorrect to say that it is afraid, for it is fear itself woven into a thing called ‘me’.  Agreeing to examine this ‘me’ is a huge ask, when the ‘me’ in question is doing everything it can to avoid scrutiny.  Fear has usurped the creative mind and will provide a zillion good reasons why we should stay asleep.  Clearly, we need to meet and greet this energy called fear if we want to know the potential of a creative mind.  For without genuine creativity as the default response to life, the planet is peopled with sleepwalkers, mechanical creatures doomed to mediocrity, fearfulness and an aching sense of incompleteness. Fakes rule, feeding on fake information, unwittingly complicit in the passivity and violence being expressed in society and the mindless greedy carnage being wrecked upon our home planet.

This is why it is crucial to understand what creativity really involves.

Whenever … creativity is impeded, the ultimate result is not simply the absence of creativity, but an actual positive presence of destructiveness.

… creativity is a prime need of a human being and its denial brings about a pervasive state of dissatisfaction and boredom.  This leads to intense frustration that is conducive to a search for exciting “outlets,” which can readily involve a degree of force that is destructive.  This sort of frustration is indeed a major source of violence.  However, what is even more destructive than such overt violence is that the senses, intellect and emotions of the child gradually become deadened and the child loses the capacity for free movement of awareness, attention, and thought.  In effect, the destructive energy that has been aroused in the mind has been turned against the whole creative potential itself.

Creativity is … a major need of each human being and the blockage of this creativity eventually threatens civilisation with ultimate destruction.

– Bohm and Peat,  Science, Order and Creativity.

 

Chris Drury, Everything. Nothing.

Chris Drury, Everything. Nothing
Hand written text in ink on an inkjet print from an echogram of East Antarctica, on artists’ paper.
Antarctica is the height of nothingness and yet it contains everything,
it drives our climate and has our history encoded in the layers of ice.
888 x 778 mm.  Private collection.

 


Chris Drury was born in 1948 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.  His body of work includes ephemeral assemblies of natural materials, as well as more permanent landscape art, works on paper, and indoor installations.  He also works on 3D sculptures.

Some of Drury’s lasting works are cloud chambers – darkened caverns constructed of local rock, turf, or other materials.  Each chamber has a hole in the roof which serves as a pinhole camera; viewers may enter the chamber and observe the image of the sky and clouds projected onto the walls and floor.

On paper, he uses a variety of unusual media – including mushroom spores, dung, and peat – as a source of color and pattern. These might be overlaid with text or fingerprints, or underlaid with maps or other geographic images.  More recently, Drury has produced works associated with the body, working in residence in hospitals and incorporating echocardiogram data and blood into his art. [Wikipedia]

All works Copyright © Chris Drury.

http://chrisdrury.co.uk


*  If you live in the Toronto area check out Scott Morgan’s creativeriver.com
Scott offers help with exposing the many saboteurs of the creative mind.  He knows the territory, is skilled, deeply wise, and has a great sense of humour. Lucky Torontonians!


Those with a deep interest in the creative mind will find the collection of previously unpublished writings on art, science and originality in Bohm’s book On Creativity a valuable resource:
Creativity is fundamental to human experience.  In ‘On Creativity’, David Bohm, the world-renowned scientist, investigates the phenomenon from all sides: not only the creativity of invention and of imagination but also that of perception and of discovery. This is a remarkable and life-affirming book by one of the most far-sighted thinkers of modern times.  [Amazon]


worth a look:

on this site
David Bohm: On Creativity
scientist meets philosopher
David Bohm and Rouault’s Clown
Scott Morgan at the artisans’ gallery

external links
chrisdrury.co.uk
www.david-bohm.net
Bohm-Krishnamurti Project
creativeriver.com


Indra’s net: a digital dance with virtual light-physics

Paul Mulliner is a first.  He introduces digital graphics to our artisans’ gallery and eloquently explains both his reasons for choosing this medium and the view he loves to explore.  And what a view it is – nothing less than the dance of the universe, the “cosmic consciousness-field.”

I asked Paul to contribute a few words about his digital art practice for this post.  At his page in the gallery you’ll find more examples of his artwork and a sample of his writing about consciousness.


Paul Mulliner - digital refraction image
 
3D computer graphics software can simulate the physics of real-world light as it refracts within and reflects around the assembled objects or ‘models’ you place in the virtual 3D space provided to you by the software.

This capability of 3D graphics software offers the possibility of working with refractions and reflections to create digital art images.

For the refraction-image shown, an underlying graphic field of connected elements is expressing an intuited non-local connectedness and fractal self-similarity at all scales within the cosmic consciousness-field.

This underlying field is refracted through various transparent foreground shapes, which hint at quantum-scale dynamic process-structures such as the spin-resonance field-fluctuations known as sub-atomic ‘particles’, atoms and molecules.

Perhaps there’s also an expression here of the way that the underlying cosmic field of consciousness emerges into our world through the particular lens or prism of our awareness.

Part of the pleasure of working with virtual light-physics to create images is that the interaction of transparent 3D models with an underlying, structured graphic field often generates unstructured and unexpected refractions.

It’s fun to play with moving objects and lights around each other, to see how they interact and create refractions and reflections.
 

Paul Mulliner - still frame from digital animation sequence

 
I’m also working on an animation sequence which generates changing reflections as various mirrored objects move around each other.

It’s possible to create a 3D array or matrix of mirrored spheres, in which each sphere in the array reflects every other sphere in the array.

Any change of colour or size of any one of the spheres is immediately apparent on the surface of every sphere in the whole array.

This is a clear expression of the apparent non-locality of the consciousness field, in which anything known locally is also known immediately throughout the whole field.

An array of mirrored spheres has obvious similarities to the ancient Buddhist metaphor known as Indra’s Net, which describes the interconnectedness of the Universe as being like an infinite array of jewels, each one of which contains an image of all other jewels in its surface.

Like a non-local, dynamic-hologram, with fractal self-similarity at all scales, every part of the whole field continuously adjusts to changes in every other part of the field.

An intelligent, dynamic interconnectedness, orchestrates and binds together all of what we know as reality everywhere.

Each one of us is entirely connected into and known within the whole Universe.

– Paul Mulliner

at the artisans’ gallery

website


Note:
The 3D digital modelling and animation software required to create digital art used to be rather expensive.  However, with the emergence of Blender, which is open source software and therefore free to download, this is no longer the case.  The images featured here were created with Blender 2.78 or 2.79.
https://www.blender.org/


the mark of non-creating

When we trust our creativity we encounter a supreme kind of enjoyment – an amazement at the natural unfolding of life beyond our ordinary way of looking at things.
– Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel

Jigme Namgyel (b.1964) is the present Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche.  He is also an abstract expressionist painter.  Kongtrul Rinpoche views creativity as “something very large – the essence of everything.”  His training in the arts began at an early age with the practice of calligraphy, music, ritual dance and other traditional Tibetan arts.  After his introduction to Western culture, Rinpoche became increasingly interested in modern art, particularly abstract painting and the work of Picasso and Kandinsky.  He began painting under the guidance of his teacher, Yahne Le Toumelin in the mid 1990’s.

This post introduces a new page on the site –  a talk given by Jigme Namgyel as a companion to his 2008 exhibition Natural Vitality at Tibet House, New York. Gratitude for his kind permission to share his wisdom and inspiration here!
Enjoy these excerpts, and read the entire talk here.

 

Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel

 

Art, when it is free of such notions of beauty and ugliness, ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts’ can be used to express this complete experience of mind. When art evolves from this understanding it provides the possibility for those who see it to also experience the natural and unfabricated nature of their own awareness.

Imagine a life without music, without sculpture, painting, poetry, theater or dance. The purpose of art is to reflect and enjoy the richness of the world – not just what we think is ‘good’ and ‘pleasing’ – but the entirety of human experience. The primordial instinct to express creativity has been part of the human appreciation of life since the cave men. Creativity expresses itself at the very beginning of life – it could be said that our first cry is our very first song. But we really engage our creativity when we begin to play. […]

When we speak of natural creativity and its expression we are not talking about something separate from our own mind and experience.

The energy put into the creation of art reflects our own richness and in turn communicates this richness to others. When we appreciate a beautiful piece of art it is not limited to the piece itself – we experience the process that the artist went through as well; it is a transference of consciousness. Whether we are an artist or a spectator we feel the creative energy. When it has been formalized into a piece, the artist’s energy has not become the piece itself – but the piece is blessed by the creativity of the artist.

We usually think of creativity as ‘belonging’ to the artist. But in a larger sense creative energy is innate and spontaneously present, not fabricated by hammer and nail. It is unborn, with no center or boundary, yet nothing exists outside of it. The mountains, oceans, the sun and moon, the seasons arise spontaneously from it. What has become ‘our life’ – everything we are and everything we have been since we stepped into this world – is spontaneously present. Our genetic make up – the egg and sperm of our parents – arose from and is encompassed by the creative energy of our basic nature. The great Buddhist practitioner Kunchyen Longchenpa said: “The universe is spontaneously present, who could have created it? It is the grand production of its creative energy.” And all appearance is blessed by it. […]

Just remember, this natural energy created the entire universe – a humbling thought that puts our own artistic creations in perspective!

My instruction from Yahne [Le Toumelin] reflects a discipline that integrates the view of meditation and art: She would say: “When you get attached to anything that emerges on the canvas, destroy it!” I would watch her create something beautiful and then paint over it or scrape off the paint. “Destroy, destroy, destroy.” This is not to say that beauty or attachment to beauty is a problem. Destroying them is not an aggressive act, an annihilation of self or a rejection of experience. It enhances creativity. It is a natural wearing away of attachment and becomes a part of the creative process itself – a way to engage bigger mind. The more I do this, the greater the satisfaction. I am not fixated on creating something ‘good’ or ‘pleasing.’ My interest or focus is on the process of creating and connecting to my natural creativity. The main discipline is to let go. […]

When I have exhausted my fixations through the process of destroying I let the painting be. At this point I have reached what I call the ‘mark of non-creating’ – a state of uncontrived creativity where the artist just steps out of his or her own way. When I find that I have arrived at that point I just drop any activity – stop – and leave the painting right there without trying to improve or manipulate it. I never judge my paintings – I always appreciate and spend time with them because I appreciate where they come from. […]

I feel in awe of the whole process – not in a narcissistic way – but of the expression of this primordial creativity.

When it comes to art, the process we engage in is reflected in its expression. If we trust in the basic nature – it is communicated. If we are insecure and self-conscious – it is communicated. Ultimately, because everything arises from the creative nature of primordial mind, there is nothing that is more profound, miraculous or ‘creative’ than anything else. […]

– Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel

Continue reading here: on painting

Image and text ©2015 Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel
http://www.kongtruljigme.com


Relevant links:

Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel at the artisans’ gallery

creative energy : the essence of everything

the art of disciplined freedom


Natural Vitality - Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel

Natural Vitality:
The Paintings of Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel


 

investigating the mind through art

Hildy Maze is an artist who sees her practice as an exploration of the workings of the mind. We welcome her, with her contribution of images and reflections on her practice, to the artisans’ gallery.

 

The Awakened Eye: Hildy Maze - Cutting Through

 

[The paper]… Touched in any way there’s a response; a fingerprint, wrinkle, rip, drip or tear, which then becomes texture and language, traces of process and practice as echoes or footprints challenging our conditioned response to things worn, torn, old, wrinkled or ripped as good or bad, acceptable or not acceptable; challenging our dualistic way of seeing the world.

 

The Awakened Eye: Hildy Maze - Rumblings of Nostalgia

 

My work is driven by a curiosity into the investigation of mind thru art. None of us can avoid thoughts, but through awareness of our pitfalls, beauty, strengths and weaknesses we can open windows into the mind. The core of my contemplative art practice is to visually embody the blind spots as a result of our thoughts. I am interested in the study of how the mind works as a means of gaining insight, how we communicate, how we create identity through form, emotions and consciousness, and how we hide in that creation. Essentially this work is about all of us and the empty, clear and unconditional nature of mind we all have.  When we know the nature of our mind we will know the nature of our world.

– Hildy Maze

Images and text ©copyright Hildy Maze
http://hildymaze.com
https://www.facebook.com/hildy.mazestudio
https://theartstack.com/artist/hildy-maze


To read more, and view other examples of Hildy’s work,
please visit her page at the artisans’ gallery


artisans

artisans’ gallery

dharma art – the art of living artfully


From the bookshelf:

Chögyam Trungpa: True Perception - The Path of Dharma Art

True Perception: The Path of Dharma Art


 

the uniqueness of unnamed seeing

The precision of naming takes away
from the uniqueness of seeing.
– Pierre Bonnard

… a short excerpt from Rupert Spira‘s book, Presence, Vol 1, with paintings by the artists he mentions …

– – –

An artist tries to represent, that is, to re-present, to present again a vision of experience that evokes its reality, to make something that has the power within it to draw the viewer into its own reality.

 

Pierre Bonnard: Nude in a Bathtub

That is what the French painter, Pierre Bonnard, was trying to capture: the timeless moment of perception before thinking has divided the world into a perceiving subject and a perceived object and then further sub-divided the object into ‘ten thousand things.’

And what did that vision look like in Bonnard’s view? It was a world brimming with colour, intensity, harmony and dancing with vitality. It was world in which the edge of the bath or an old wooden floorboard were given the same attention, the same love, as were the curve of a cheek or the gesture of a hand.

 

William Blake: Song of Los

It was the same moment that William Blake wanted to evoke. He was once questioned, “When you see the sun rise do you not see a round disc of fire somewhat like a guinea?” And he replied, “Oh no, no! I see an innumerable company of the heavenly host crying ‘Glory, Glory, Glory is the Lord God Almighty.’”

 

J.M.W. Turner: Sunrise with a Boat between Headlands

Likewise, William Turner who is reported to have been returning home from Hampstead Heath with a painting under his arm late one evening, when a local resident stopped him and asked to see the painting. After looking at it for some time the resident remarked, “Mr. Turner, I have never seen a sun set over Hampstead Heath like that,” to which Turner replied, “No, but don’t you wish you could.”

 

Paul Cezanne: Bend in a Forest Road

The body and mind of the artist is the medium through which nature interprets itself to itself. It is the medium through which nature explores and realises its own identity. As Cézanne said, “I become the subjective consciousness of the landscape and my painting becomes its objective consciousness.”

– Rupert Spira

Presence: The Art of Peace and Happiness – Volume 1


Links to related pages and posts on this site:

rupert spira at the artisans’ gallery

paul cézanne

nature’s eternity – an essay on paul cézanne by rupert spira

blake’s eternal delight

artisans

artisans’ gallery

 


Sources of images:
Pierre Bonnard – Nude in a bathtub
William Blake – Song of Los
J.M.W. Turner – Sunrise, with a Boat between Headlands
Paul Cézanne – Bend in a Forest Road