So Goes the Battle

Life is all conflict, like it or not. Gone are the days when we had to face the world, now it’s always other people who give trouble. With the previous sentence readers may notice how my own need for sovereignty, or freedom, or security, helps to set wars in motion. Is the term war an exaggeration in this context? I’m not really worse than anyone else, but I think it’s useful and accurate to see my private struggles in the light of world politics. Wars are nothing other than petty emotions inflated into mass delusions. In my view art is a kind of enlightenment, meaning freedom from mass delusion. But however much it turns away from the unnecessary violence of the human monkey, art is not exactly a moment of release from conflict—it might seem that way, but it actually includes conflict, allegorized as form. Individual paintings are battles with a humane resolution.

I don’t do any fighting myself, that would be utter failure. In the case of my recent collages, the struggle is between two concepts of the picture. On one side is the stable, integrated whole, and when all the parts join hands they turn as one united organism and face the viewer. On the other side is a process in motion, traveling through the world, that just happens to enter the picture space at a moment when some transformation is underway. It’s heading off somewhere else so has turned or is turning its back. I’m like a referee; I try not to get in the way, and keep the game going until the winner is clear, but I have to admit that the former option is the stronger, and I wish it weren’t quite so. In this collage, and the earlier one, the big battalions have definitely won.

Robert Linsley, Collage #3 2016 watercolour, pencil, spray, enamel, tissue paper collage on canvas

Robert Linsley, Collage #3 2016 watercolour, pencil, spray, silkscreen, acrylic, enamel, tissue paper collage on canvas

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One Response to So Goes the Battle

  1. this is great: “…art is not exactly a moment of release from conflict—it might seem that way, but it actually includes conflict, allegorized as form. Individual paintings are battles with a humane resolution.”

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