Philosophy of An Artist

In his book Working Space, Stella makes a comment in passing that I can’t get out of my mind. He says “…life is more wonderful than the imagination and recall of the people who live it.” Objectively true. How can our individual selves encompass the majesty of what is? A glimpse now and then. But what’s good about this comment is that it brings us to lived experience, the passage of time as we know it – dreary humdrum day to day. Recollection is inadequate anyway because we miss most of what happens in life, especially nowadays. But imagination is the faculty that reveals the present. For certain people, including me, work is how it’s done, the way to peer out and over the down of daily life. Make the colors sing, make the forms dance, why waste any more moments? The advocates of discursive art would laugh, but what’s real is real. Why should we prefer a clever thought to the non-conceptual experience of art? The first is necessary and inevitable, the second is an achievement of the moment – the achievement that makes the moment, even if we don’t know it at the time. I’ve had this piece hanging in my house for a few months now, and I never really liked it. Always thought it was not quite up to standard. But now I see in it energy and life that’s independent of myself. I was trying to bring the illusion of light to my normally pretty flat way of painting, so the intellectual side, the realm of conscious intentions, is covered. But the emotional side, in other words the pleasure available to the viewer, took care of itself. What a gift to me, to realize this is the way into the present and out of my own limitations. That’s why I’ve been making art for such a long time.

Robert Linsley, Yellow Sea 2011

Robert Linsley, Yellow Sea 2011

This entry was posted in Abstraction and Society, American Modernism, Ethics of Abstraction and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *