This is the Sandbox


Gurdon: an email to you bounced!

Here's what it said:

You'll notice that the editor expiration message is gone. You're up-to-date. There were a couple of changes needed, among them being that the frame being edited is now being edited IN ITS PLACE, not at the top of the page as before. This doesn't need to be so, but I think it's better.

As with any BIG CHANGE (and this turned out to be pretty major) there may be anomalies and unexpected glitches. Do not hesitate to tell me ...while your complex program is still fresh in my mind.

- M  ;>

 

Post-Modernism is Just Another in a Series of Styles Within Modernism

What is the point of producing artwork in the present moment, or any moment? Western art history describes an evolution from illustrating the sacred, whatever that may have been believed to be at various points in time, to the present, where some individuals maintain that there can be art without content, purpose or meaning.

I want to explain what I think I am doing as an artist and why. 

Modernism is supposed to have ended sometime in the 1960s. Much that has been written about this alleged transformation is confused, if not nonsensical, and, in any event, is unhelpful to the  artist trying to situate himself or herself in the 21st century. A useful exception is the work of Hans Belting, particularly The Invisible Masterpiece, and Art History After Modernism.

In Invisible Masterpiece, Belting chronicles the history of the idea of the masterpiece and how its significance changed in the Renaissance as the role of art changed from religious explanation to individual expression. Belting describes the diminution of the importance of the individual artwork to the point where it is claimed by some that a work itself is unnecessary.

He describes the theft of the Mona Lisa in 1913, and how the theft contributed to the commodification of this painting. The process  continued through Duchamp’s moustache and goatee representation of the painting and his subsequent involvement in diminishing the importance of the work of art. Belting describes how such alienation of artworks is tied in with conceptual art and other manifestations of post-Modernism.

At the end of his life Duchamp reversed himself and asserted the primacy of tangible works of art by leaving detailed instructions for the posthumous completion  of an installation - Étant donnés (Invisible Masterpiece, 329-32) The link is to the Philadelphia Museum's page on Étant donnés.

<https://philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/65633.html>

<https://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/65633>.html#>

Experiment freely
(no one is looking)

Gurdon Miller

Gurdon Miller

 

Second Sandbox Page!

background image off

 

Link to Sandbox 2

As Susan Buck-Morss puts it with respect to the work of Walter Benjamin:

The Passagen-Werk suggests that it makes no sense to divide the era of capitalism into formalist “modernism,” and historically eclectic “post-modernism,” as these tendencies have been there from the start of industrial culture. The paradoxical dynamics of novelty and repetition simply repeat themselves anew.

Modernism and post-modernism are not chronological eras, but political positions in the century-long struggle between art and technology. If modernism expresses utopian longing by anticipating the recognition of social function and aesthetic form, post-modernism acknowledges their nonidentity and keeps fantasy alive. Each position thus represents a partial truth; each will recur anew,” so long as the contradictions of commodity society are not overcome.

The Dialectics of Seeing, p. 359

 

test 5


Gurdon Miller

The assertion of the elimination of the work, let alone the masterpiece, as a necessary outcome of the process of making art, does not convince me that the physical work of art can or should be dispensed with.

 

Add a discussion of AGENCY in the context of  Gesamtkunstwerk, Wagner and current (2019) ring cycle with electronic /LED and other effects, several stage managers, etc.

The work has had its range expanded. Alfred Leslie’s move to, if not invention of, hyperrealism in the 1960s might be considered reactionary, especially when considered in the context of the subsequent trajectory of realism, at least in North America. It was, in fact, confrontational, as he stated at the time. 

He has produced a large oeuvre on several themes, at a grand scale and in a variety of mediums (several series of large paintings), films, watercolors, and--for the last twenty years--large digital paintings that he refers to as “Pixel Scores.” 

The artist’s career encompasses the art world from the end of World War II to the present moment. It supports my understanding that this period of time should be viewed as a continuum, not a series of stages as it has been fashionable for the art press to assert.

<https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/01/arts/>

<https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/01/arts/alfred-leslie-london-frieze.html>

www.alfredleslie.com.

 

 

<https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/01/arts/alfred-leslie-london-frieze.html><https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/01/arts/alfred-leslie-london-frieze.html>

A work of any kind is currently considered acceptable, from painstakingly executed technically demanding pieces to ephemeral actions requiring neither manifestation of technical competence nor creative risk.

The issue really isn’t a particular work itself, but rather the context within which it is produced.

A metaphysical, let alone divine, source for subject or content is not susceptible to rational discussion.

The Brechtian argument for socially useful work falls short as it denies the autonomy of the individual.

Madrone

 

I first observed madrone trees when I came to Northern California in the fall of 1963. The forms and colors of madrone have an enduring aesthetic  appeal to me. The red circle painting above incorporates a motif, which I frequently employ, based on madrone branches.

  Madrone branch

www.alfredleslie.com.

Gurdon Miller


After working through Brecht’s dialectical approach Benjamin concluded that the “. . . images of the unconscious are thus formed as a result of concrete, historical experiences, not (as with Jung’s archetypes) biologically inherited.” (Dialectics, p. 278.)

I've found in a recent (2004 in German, 2010 in English) book by Uwe Steiner on Walter Benjamin, in which Steiner gives a description of Benjamin's discussion of Critique of Pure Reason, which quotes Kant to the effect, ' ... 'that all speculative knowledge is limited to objects of experience,' and that we can have knowledge of things only insofar as they present themselves as objects of sensory perception, that is, as phenomena.'

I'm excited by finding the source of Benjamin's materialism in Kant, and that Steiner employed the phrase 'sensory experience of perception,' which, when I came upon it a few years ago, was quite electrifying, in that it describes the act of perception as a neurological function. 

Steiner's book provides a citation to the Benjamin piece, and that should lead to the original coinage of the phrase. This may let me established flesh out the starting point of the history of this particular idea about the nature of perception, which I believe to be really important.

 

(1) I understand an artwork to be the product of an autonomous artist, not beholden to theocracy, the bourgeois market place, a need to be socially useful, nor even the desire to resolve dialectic tensions. 

 (2) An artwork is the product of the autonomous artist, not beholden to theocracy, the bourgeois market place, a need to be socially useful, nor even to resolve dialectic tensions.

Add passage on AGENCY

To this I add my own compulsion to produce tangible works of art, which I consider products of innate talent, informed by study and practice, and refracted through an intensely militant individuality.

I do not rely for a living on the sale of my work.

Unused page

February, 2011; revised May, 2018

After working through Brecht’s dialectical approach Benjamin concluded that the “. . . images of the unconscious are thus formed as a result of concrete, historical experiences, not (as with Jung’s archetypes) biologically inherited.” (Dialectics, p. 278.)

[ latest sky water image]   [ Hubble 14 billion light years away image] [dramatic sunset photo]

 

My paintings are not about whatever subject matter might be discernable in the motif.

 

I’m not sure where my paintings come from. Not literally, of course, the underlying motif of this painting is obviously the view across Flathead Lake. There are several paintings in my studio on this motif (a few of which are annoyingly literal). The sunset motif is closely tied, as well, to the Moon on the Water Koan. 

And there are other paintings with different motifs (in addition to madrone branches). Photos of the universe come to mind, one in particular, that shows an array of bright spots – some merely specks – others clearly spiral galaxies.

 

What the paintings are about is how the viewer apprehends the sensory experience of perceiving them. How does it make you feel when you look at the painting? 

 

I experience distinctive, simultaneously occurring physical reactions, one, a couple of inches below the center of where my rib cage ends (solar plexus), another at the back of my neck in the muscles above the prominent vertebra where the skull meets the spine, and, a third, which is about the size and shape that can be covered by placing the tips of the four fingers of my right hand -back to front - near the middle of the top of my head a little to the right of center. This last feeling starts on the skin, and seems as if it extends down through the bone and into my brain.

 

Beyond this immediate reaction, I am at a loss to describe the particular feeling that comes over me when I look at a painting or a photograph. This also sometimes occurs as I am moving through the world, and what I see in front of me snaps into sharp relief and I feel the way I do when I look at a painting. 

 

When I am out photographing, I am consciously looking for places that snap into sharp focus, offering the possibility that a photographic print might catch whatever it is that evokes this reaction. Ansel Adams used the expression previsualization. He may have meant what I’m trying to describe.

' ... , an activity of seeing the world little more clearly by clarifying the language and thoughts we use to describe it. ...  One is left, in Wittgenstein's words, to 'wonder at the existence of the world,' which is precisely the opposite of explaining it fully. '

'Being and Time: How Wittgenstien, Benjamin, Cassierer and Heidegger altered the way we see.' John Klagg,  NY Times Book Review, September 27, 2020. Time of the Magicians: Wittgenstein, Benjamin, Cassirer, Heidegger, and the Decade That Reinvented Philosophy

by Wolfram Eilenberger

 

When all a viewer sees is the subject matter, they are missing out on the primary experience of what they are looking at.

 

[ latest sky water image]  

 

 [dramatic sunset photo]

 

[ Hubble 14 billion light years away image]

Painting page

Contemplating such an image, in which every spot of light is a galaxy, one gets a sense of the size of the universe. At that scale our galaxy is a grain of sand, our solar system a speck of dust, and Earth too small to be seen.


This is some code

http://casparinstitute.org

 

(ideas page) artFundamentalism

 

Opposition to Modernism

Paris link 

Modernism still evokes irrational passionate opposition that has little to do with the nature, let alone the merit, of the works in question.

 

Robert Adams in his 1981 book, Beauty in Photography: Essays in Defense of Traditional Values, referring to the sources of great artists (Cezanne, Delacroix, and Matisse, in this case), writes -- in remarkably Quranic language -- “each, great as he was, understood that creations out of nothing are possible only for God.” (my emphasis) (p. 88). “Art that mirrors the order in the Creation itself [has not been] the subject of the art of [the 20th] century.”(p. 30).

 

Adams appears ignorant of the history of 20th Century painting. 

 

Cross Cultural Digression 

 

The quoted passage above jumped off the page when I read it. The ironic contrast between the Islamic view that depicting the human form is sinful, and Adams’s Christian assertion that representational art is necessarily grounded in an aesthetic appreciation of God’s creation, is striking. 

 

 

 

 

 

Adams asserts, as does the Quran, “Creations out of nothing are possible only for God.” Adams goes on to denigrate modern artworks that “have interesting shapes, etc., and are of trifling interest.” 

 

In Islam, the depiction of people, or of animals with breath and voice, is blasphemous. Abstract geometric patterns and elaborate calligraphy are preferred. 

 

An elaborate system of geometrical abstraction forms the basis for non-objective art that is largely, if not entirely, foreign to Western art and the way westerners apprehend art. 

 

How one looks at art is a function of how one sees.

 

(Belting, Florence and Baghdad: Renaissance Art and Arab Science.)

 

A form can manifest, or represent, shape, or space. It can have color, either enclosed in it, or as in the open color of Raoul Dufy, a form encompassed by a line might be one form, and an area of open color partially occupying the delineated form might constitute a separate form, overlapping the outlined one, resulting in a complex intersection between two forms -- one defined by an outline, the other defined by an area of color.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 It is obvious to me that the cumulative and rapid acceleration ef urbanization and global warming are transforming our world in ways that are dreadful to contemplate.

 

place to work on RANT

Taking it in all at once is overwhelming, and nearly unbearable. I struggle to understand and describe it. The deceitfulness  and selfishness of the perps – there's no need to name them all – leaves me incredulous. Yes they are greedy, but how can they be so greedy that they willingly consign their descendants, people who will remember their names, to such a miserable fate?

 

One of the themes of The Rise of the West is the author's thesis of a connection between the superiority of weapons technology, logistics, and military tactics that developed parallel to the cultural evolution of the West, thereby enabling the West to achieve global hegemony. 

If it’s environmental collapse, it will be protracted and utterly miserable. If it’s war games, it will be immediate and acutely miserable. One or the other seems unavoidable – global warming or nuclear winter. 

 

 MISCELLANY STORAGE (begun 10/13/2020 - Mars opposition)

12/23/2020

Note from conversation between SQS, Michael Creal, and me. Michael asked how can the 40% who follow Trump believe his lies?Steven pointed out that religion is based on faith in unverifiable premises.

This prompted the thought that capacity for belief seems to me to be innately human. Moreover, recent snippets of news suggest that scientists claim to have ascertained that certain animals may have a sense of a supreme being. I have to check this out.  

It may be that people respond to certain behaviors, the soothing voice and cadence of preaching and oratory (Arthur Godfrey and Garner Ted Armstrong  from the Worldwide Church of God  on the radio in New Mexico. Music, preaching, calming voices, etc, all sooth people, some animals. ...

This seems to me to tie into the idea of the sensory experience -- You hear a soothing voice. As a three year old I heard Arthur Godfrey’s voice on the radio and it made me feel good --same with the voice of Garner Ted's voice, reinforced by a rousing hymn. 

Notes for People Page

“Lene,” Arlene Washburn, Fourth grade teacher, family friend, friend and mentor. Lene, whom I had to call Miss Washburn when she was my fourth grade teacher, taught me to draw and paint, how to use water colors, how to learn. She also set an example for living, and dying.

Lene arranged for me to show my work to Madam Chouinard who encouraged me to apply to The Chouinard Art Institute  MFA program. I was not able to do so, but her endorsement reinforced my belief in my talent.

link to youtube on Cezanne Mont sainte Victoire from Bibimus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dTmOec7Uq0

 




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