Wednesday, 4 November 2020
2010, 80cms x 80cms, acrylic paint, textile, paper and pencil on canvas.
Visual art that does not pretend to be a constructed representation of something else in the real world but is itself a discrete entity in the real world, should like music, have an autonomous, ‘life of its own.’ It should have an energy, a vitality, should excite the senses and the emotions, hopefully, beyond self-conscious thought and words.
Unless there is an immediate and lasting connection with the senses and vitally, directly with the observers’ nervous system, it is likely to serve no purpose beyond the decorative.
The late American abstract expressionist painter Franz Kline, when asked to explain his abstraction said: 'I’ll answer you in the same way Louis Armstrong does when they ask him what it means when he blows his trumpet. Louis says, Brother, if you don’t get it, there is no way I can tell you.’
There is a tendency to over intellectualise painting and art in general and of course, this the territory of the critics and the curators, but frankly, with the entity in front of you, you either respond or you do not. There may of course be degrees of response, and provided you do not automatically reject within a few seconds, as many do, more complete and satisfying responses may occur given prolonged engagement.
However, as Louis firmly implied, there is no way that he, or anyone else can explain, or teach you how you should respond, or what you should feel, but the receptive viewer will know instinctively if that vital connection has been made.
From a suite of four paintings: Encounter, Odyssey, Enigma and Quest, on Gallery 7 of my website.