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1. “From Techne to Psyche” A Creative Autobiography 2019


2. “Romancing the Automobile"


3. A Short Biography

4. A Casual Biography

5. Art and Painting Notes

6. Art and Painting Notes of Others



1. “From Techne to Psyche” A Creative Autobiography 2019

 

hot rods - rock and roll - automotive beginnings…

I evolved esthetically  from the Detroit culture of rock and soul music, building hot rod models and custom models for the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild. I grew up listening to my father’s large collection of big band swing music. I started playing drums at the age of thirteen in neighborhood garage bands. My dad took me to Baker’s Keyboard Lounge at the age of thirteen to hear the master drummer Gene Krupa Quartet, a powerful creative experience. Concept car design was my first artistic passion. I always had a talent for drawing, initially in the automotive realm and leading to figure drawing and beyond. I eventually read the humanism of generalist Lewis Mumford at the Art School of the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts library. The school is located in downtown Detroit’s cultural center, next door to the Detroit Institute of Arts, and was part of the rich cultural mix of the time. Mumford was the first of many deep thinkers I was to read. His ideas on the city, the machine, progress, power, profit, property, productivity helped me to evolve beyond the corporate automotive domain, coming to view it as an obsolete measure of personal success.

I grew up in the working class manufacturing cyclone of 1950's Detroit, “The high church of American capitalism” - Tom Brokaw.

 As a male honor student, excelling in math, who could also draw, I had the drafting/engineering/manufacturing/corporate culture pretty much handed to me, possibly forced on me. Fortunately, I eventually found a way into the rich creative culture of the time and place to explore the creative, personal, humanist side of  life and the mind. Painting called me as a mythic vocation embodying the essential mystery and spiritual beauty of nature and the human psyche.

My paintings are the result of my over fifty year long experience with the Art Spirit, pursuing the possibilities of a personal transformative vision, engaging emotion, expression, and the poetry of visual music.



Early Custom Models



 


Concept Car 1969 Prismacolor on Canson paper




Concept Car 1969 Prismacolor on Canson paper

 

Concept Drawings from

2. “Romancing the Automobile"

Dennos Museum Center September 2007

It was a time of great optimism and excitement in the automotive world of Detroit. That world in the 1960’s was enjoying the automotive styling and engineering design renaissance created earlier by Harly Earl and other creative and passionate artists, designers, and engineers at General Motors that continued for a generation and made Detroit famous world wide for its cool, sleek, and sexy concept and production cars.

Automotive styling or car designing was the dream job of many a young man from Detroit and I was in love with all of it.

These early drawings were done when I was at Cass Technical High School in 1967-68 in the Body Styling Program and the Art School of the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, now the College of Creative Studies, both in Detroit, and in 1968-69 at General Motors Styling at the Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, while a co-op engineering and design student at General Motors Institute in Flint, Michigan.

While based on fantasy with impossible, exaggerated proportions, the drawings were meant to convey a fundamental design concept with great aesthetic excitement eventually leading to a production vehicle with its own personality. Whether luxury cars or small, economy vehicles, they had to be cool.

The GM studio I was in as a design apprentice was an initial concept studio. The tracing type drawings were done rapidly as a predominantly side or end view in about 30 minutes. Then another variation traced over it on a new sheet for a new drawing. Rapidly they become a style of design, as would the designs from other designers. Executives would choose designs and new drawings would develop from these. Soon there would be many drawings focused on an evolving automobile. From these small scale clay models would be started in the design studio and the process would evolve between two and three dimensions. Next came a larger scale model. At this point the project went to another studio for gradual production refinement. Contrary to popular belief, the final, meticulous pre-production design work was considered more demanding than the initial concept designing as it was closer to the final car.

The drawings on black Canson paper are Prismacolor pencil. The others on translucent layout paper are pencil alone or pastel with marker on the front and back.

I gradually moved on to the less glamorous field of automotive tooling design, (still very creative but not nearly as romantic!), and to my own painting.

Ron Gianola
Honor, Michigan 2007





Concept Car 1969 Prismacolor on Canson paper

 


Concept Car 1969


Pastel, Colored Pencil, and Markers on Vellum Tracing Paper


 


Concept Car 1969


Pastel, Colored Pencil, and Markers on Vellum Tracing Paper



Concept Car 1969


Pastel, Colored Pencil, and Markers on Vellum Tracing Paper



the human figure, realism, music…

While attending “Arts and Crafts” in four phases over a twenty year period, 1969 through 1989, I met an incredible group of instructors in all departments. Industrial Design; architect Marco Nobili, designer and jazz royalty composer Keith Vreeland, Detroit Institute of Arts curator art historian Nicholas Snow, fine artist in egg tempera and fresco Bill Girard, master sculptor Jay Holland, ceramists Gordon Orear and Max Davis, painters without compare Richard Jerzy, Anthony Williams, Russell Keeter. They were trained in realism, some from the master Sarkis Sarkisian, and most importantly taught me to see and think.


Keith Vreeland opened the door for me to the rich world of creative jazz in Detroit, with concerts at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and various downtown clubs. Life changing for me was the Strata Concert Gallery, an “underground” creative music performance space, community organization, and record label. Led by composer / pianist and Contemporary Jazz Quintet leader Kenny Cox, Strata brought in Charles Mingus, Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi, Stanley Cowell, Tribe, the original Weather Report, Elvin Jones, The Art Ensemble, Cecil Taylor, Chick Corea, etc. Strata, along with ECM, formed my musical taste and outlook to this day. 

 

During a three year period I studied the Indian tabla drums and played with a sitar master. I was later to study contemporary jazz drumming with Detroit studio drummer Gene Stewart.

 

Industrial Design involved a broad training in the fine and applied arts. The incredible Syd Mead was teaching advanced rendering at this time.



 

I was exposed to figure drawing, art history, esthetics, and design.  Transferring to Fine Arts, I spent many hours in figure drawing and painting. From this I learned to not just look but "see" in the sense so beautifully depicted by Frederick Franck in his "Zen of Seeing" books. Betty Edwards' "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" led me to the deep, life changing "The Transformative Vision: Reflections on the Nature and History of Human Expression" by Jose Arguelles. My introduction to the split consciousness of techne and psyche from the Pleistocene to today, and it's relation to art. A huge influence on me, the  twenty page bibliography kept me busy in the Detroit Main Library literally for years. Another deep influence was the writing of Joseph Campbell, relating creative work and one's life as an artist, across the ages, to the Hero With a Thousand Faces.


Figure work, my second large artistic passion, in pastels was my introduction to color. A classicist in his belief that the mission of the artist is to create beauty and to represent the inner life of the spirit, Sarkis endowed his paintings with gravity and grace. He embodied classical humanism, representing the inner life of the spirit as well as the outward form of the body, beauty, and honesty.

 


 

 


Portrait of Sean Ruff


Pastel 1982

 

 


Figure


Pastel 1984


 

 


Figure


Charcoal 1970

 

 


Figure


Pastel 1999

 



Figure


Pastel 1970

the grand landscape…

After realistic figurative drawing and painting, my great love and inspiration became landscape painting.

While in school I spent many hours in the magnificent Detroit Institute of Arts. I was attracted to the work of Canaletto, Brueghel, Rivera, Monet, Whistler, Jasper Cropsey, and American Impressionists, particularly George Inness and John Twachtman. George Inness was largely self-taught and had little patience for the detail and labor of drawing and engraving. He loved, instead, the richness of paint and color, which he called the soul of painting, and believed that one painted, "not to imitate a fixed material condition, but to represent a living motion." The Detroit Institute of Arts has some astounding Inness landscapes that always caught me.  A huge influence, he showed me representational painting could be emotional, personal, and poetically evocative of an inner source.

“Alluding to subjects, avoiding mimetic representation. …detail did not gain me meaning…” – George Inness

“indirectly represent objects, directly represent or convey, atmospheric, subjective mystery of nature...not of an outer fact, but an inner life."

My large passion in 1985 for landscape work became my first subject to deeply develop in color. As I worked to find my way with expressive color, my dear wife Pam and I visited Hawaii in 1992. I met the Chinese impressionist color master Lau Chun at his gallery in the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki. Due to Lau Chun’s huge influence on my approach to color in Hawaii I tried to paint like Lau for 10 years. I did not learn to paint like Lau, but much better, to paint like me.

I painted hundreds of landscapes based on the northern Michigan area around our home in Honor, near Sleeping Bear Dunes, and waterscapes of the Platte River and Lake Michigan, in a semi abstract approach. I eventually titled them in a numbered “Retreat” series.

At this point I’m working from life or observation, and beginning to merge it with memory and imagination.






Tranquility


40 x 40 oil 1995



Iris Dream


40 x 48 oil 1996





Retreat #5


40 x 48 oil  1995


Summer Serenade


20 x 20  oil 2000


Retreat #5


40 x 48 oil  1995



Reflections


24 x 30 oil 2000




Flow 24 x 60 oil  1995

interlude…


In 1996 I painted a large acrylic piece in four attached canvases, “You’ll Know When You Get There”. Please view on Home page. It was at the request of jazz musician and concert promoter Jeff Haas. The painting was to compliment the creative improvisational jazz music of the Marcus Belgrave Quintet, displayed above the band at Milliken Auditorium at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City. Starting a fifteen foot piece with no pre-conceived intention, I reached down deep to create this, not knowing I would return to this source more than twenty years later.


windows, inside/outs…

In 2001 I began to be influenced by a very different group of visual ideas. I needed to move on from my landscape based subjects and color. Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park series of abstractions, originally from the landscape and cityscape, attracted me in their geometric compositional lyricism, and their beautiful color stories. The late Hans Hofmann primary geometric abstractions also moved me, particularly “The Golden Wall” in Chicago.

A vision of abstracted interior scenes developed; one a view from our living room in shadow into the sunny bedroom, with an angular shadow. Another my studio entry door with window and corner of my studio. This subject became my next three numbered series; “Interior”, “Windows”, and many “Inside Out”.

The interiors evoked geometry, the Golden Rectangle, mathematic relations, my draftsman based sense of order, even, I now see, music ...

These ideas evolved to works with a combination of interior and landscape elements evoking  contrasts; inside/outside, man-made/natural, linear/gestural, ordered/fractal, garden/architecture, and techne/psyche.

Later additional realistic elements were incorporated into the abstract;

-still life; studio, cans, and brushes relating to the artists life, home elements reflecting a vision of marital domestic home life and stability.

-florals; Ikebana, Hawaiian Lei, Japanese Gardens.

-female Psyche figure, representing the Greek goddess of the soul, heart, and breath. Also signifying the deep creative “daimon” source, described from Socrates to deep psychologist James Hillman. Also of course representing my dear sweet wife of 33 years, Pam Yee.  My writing abilities limit my expression of my wonderful life with her, without whom I cannot imagine any of this would have happened.





Timeless


11 x 14 oil  2007


Passage


38 x 32 acrylic  2001



Windows #2


20 x 16  2005

Inside Out


11 x 14  2007




Inside Out #27


24 x 14 oil 2010
Inside Out #1

30 x 24 oil  2003


Kailua #3

16 x 20 2007
Kailua #1

11 x 14 acrylic 2007



Sandy Beach #4

16 x 28 2007


Sandy Beach #1

11 x 14 2007




Psyche #12

28 x 46 acrylic 2009

Pali Retreat

20 24 acrylic 2009

passages…

A further development from my inside out series was the triune visual concept of the great “Passage” series. These were a symmetrical composition of a window or doorway, the literal passage, leading to an open bright landscape beyond. This was a strong image for me. I came to realize it was based on my many symmetrical landscape paintings of years before; a stand of trees in shadow on the left and right, with an open sunny passage in the middle leading to an inviting field or path.  I started to add a cool turquoise “river” element to these passage paintings, overlapping the strict linear elements. My visual concept became ever more abstract, using a cool horizontal on top of a vertical triune composition. This passage idea was transformational for me and led to a much more relaxed, open, completely abstract series. To me it signified a passage to future possibilities and realities. The great Robert Hughes described this passage symbolically;

 “No painting is wholly abstract.  All art, in some way or another, is situated in the world, hoping to act as a transformer between the self and the non-self.   The great project of modernism was to propagate more ways in which this could be done.  But any view of art that insists on locating art’s meaning in its power to do what had not been done before tends to reject the benefits of the modernist spirit: it exchanges ideological cramp and historicist narrowness for the anxious and open discourse our cultural parents bequeathed us.

            The signs of that constriction are everywhere today-in the small ambitions of art, in its lack of any effort towards spirituality, in its sense of career rather than vocation, in its frequently bland occupation with semantics at the expense of the deeper passions of the creative self.   Perhaps the great energies of modernism are still latent in our culture, like Ulysses’ bow in the house of Penelope; but nobody seems able to string and draw it.  Yet the work still speaks to us, in all its voices, and will continue to do so.  Art discovers its true social use, not on the ideological plane, but by opening the passage from feeling to meaning - not for everyone, since that would be impossible, but for those who want to try.  This impulse seems to be immortal.  Certainly it has existed from the origins of human society, and despite the appalling commercialization of the art world, its flight into corporate ethics and strategies, and its gradual evacuation of spirit, it exists today.” - Robert Hughes, "The Shock of the New".



Passage #25

36 x 28 oil 2006



Passage #47

36 x 28 oil 2008


Passage #15

36 x 12 oil 2005



Passage #16

40 x 14 oil 2005

Passage #91

38 x 14 oil 2015



Passage #100

48 x 16 oil 2015


music, ECM, cells…

My current series of color composition paintings are based on my long time listening, and playing, to jazz and instrumental improvisational music.

These color compositions involve harmony, dissonance, rhythm, ostinato, counterpoint, calm, tension, motion, rest, and balance, using improvisation over an intended or discovered structure. Technically my painting embodies the freedom of gestural abstraction with the care and considered nuance of classical realism.

The music on the 1100 albums of the European creative music label ECM and ECM New Series has been an inspiration to me for all of this since 1969, featuring Keith Jarrett, Dave Holland, Tomasz Stanko, Simple Acoustic Trio, Nik Bartsch, Chick Corea, Anja Lechner, Arild Anderson, and many more. Another long time influence is the Bitches Brew fusion esthetic of Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Weather Report, and John McLaughlin. I originally started my jazz listening in 1969 with Bitches Brew and forward from there as well as backward into Bebop of the 60’s and 50’s.

I have also been focusing on a “cell” like form that kept recurring while I was painting and it just always felt right to me, with their meaning some kind of mystery.

As of 2019 I am producing a series of small colored drawings of the musical and cell ideas. I feel they are beautiful, playful, fun, reflecting  ideas of a cosmic musical harmony, with some necessary  dissonance, as well as life on the cellular through galactic level.

They are done on Canson Mi-Tientes paper with Prismacolor pencils, the same materials I used in the automotive renderings done in the eleventh grade at Cass Technical High School. So there is a bit of a return involved.





Passage #126   42 x 34 oil   2017





Passage #140  12 x 30 oil   2017



Passage #69   24 x 30 oil   2012


Passage #108
40 x 14 oil
2016


Passage #157
28 x 11 oil
2018







Passage #150
24 x 30 oil
2018




Passage #159
30 x 34 oil
2019



Passage #179 10 x 14 oil 


Passage #177 11 x 14 oil



Passage #176 20 x 20 oil





Passage #175 6 x 8 oil


Passage #173 20 x 20 oil



Passage #180 11 x 14 oil


Passage #178 11 x 14 oil



Prismacolor Pencil
on Canson Mi-tientes Paper
7 x 10 2019

Prismacolor Pencil
on Canson Mi-tientes Paper
7 x 10 2019


Prismacolor Pencil
on Canson Mi-tientes Paper
7 x 10 2019

Prismacolor Pencil
on Canson Mi-tientes Paper
7 x 10 2019


6 x 6 1/4 Ink & Prismacolor Pencil
on Canson Mi-tientes Paper


8 x 10 Charcoal


9 x 9 Charcoal


8 x 9 Charcoal


8 x 8 Ink & Prismacolor Pencil


8 x 9 Charcoal & Prismacolor Pencil


3. A Short Biography

 

Ron was born in Detroit in 1950, drew from an early age, attended Detroit’s premier magnet Cass Technical High School and the Art School of the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, later known as Center for Creative Studies, during its legendary early period, studying Industrial Design, Drawing, and Painting, and worked throughout the state of Michigan as an artist and designer.

He has had 24 one-man exhibits and has been in 104 group shows, including many juried shows at the Traverse Area Arts Council where he won several awards. Ron was awarded an Honorable Mention in the First Northwest Michigan Regional Juried Exhibition, Viewers Choice Award in the Second Northwest Michigan Regional Juried Exhibition at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, First Place in Crystal Lake Art Center Annual Juried All Media Show in Frankfort, Michigan.

Ron has done commissions for private individuals, the Empire Bank, and St Joseph’s Hospital. One of his paintings is in the Dennos Museum Permanent Collection.

His work is a unique artistic vision in a contemporary style, sensitive to the effects of light expressed through color.

“I grew up in the working class manufacturing cyclone of 1950's Detroit, “The high church of American capitalism” - Tom Brokaw.

 As a male honor student, excelling in math, who could also draw, I had the drafting/engineering/manufacturing/corporate culture pretty much handed to me, possibly forced on me. Fortunately, I eventually found a way into the rich creative culture of the time and place to explore the other, creative, personal, humanist side of  life and the mind. Painting called me as a mythic vocation embodying the essential mystery and spiritual beauty of nature and the human psyche.

These paintings are the result of my over fifty year long experience with the Art Spirit, pursuing the possibilities of a personal transformative vision, engaging emotion, expression, and the poetry of visual music.

 Prior to 1990 my art revolved around the human figure.  After relocating from a major urban area to a wooded rural setting on a river, my work of 1990 through 2002 was mainly landscape.

In 2002 my work focused on views of my studio and various interiors, at times combined with landscape elements balancing realism with abstraction.  The series titles “Inside Out” and “Windows “became the numbered “Passage” series, as they are a passage from the exterior to the interior, in the painting, but also the sense of the creative interior of the artist and passage to future unknown creations.

I feel it to be a passage from Techne to Psyche. Techne representing the logical, linear, thinking life experience. The interiors of my studio are an obvious reference to the interior creative life of the artist, as are the various female figures, all called Psyche, the Greek goddess of the soul, heart, or spirit.  The various still life subjects in the interiors are a symbol to me of the countless classic paintings of the past and another symbol of the artist’s life.  The interior/landscape motif also is a symbol to me of the natural versus man-made worlds, inside versus outside, etc.

 Since 2010 my work has become even more abstracted, exploring the possibilities of the Psyche realm of experience.

 A composition inspires me by the combination of colors, almost like a musical chord, as well as the larger shapes or masses and their relation. It's basically the natural world as the start of a composition. Nature is the source, but the art is Nature seen through the artist's temperament or psyche.

My technique generally is to work in acrylic, then oil, with brushes and painting knives to apply veils of color. I use the infinite varieties of natural color and tone in my paintings in several ways. I vary a large area of color in a subtle gradation from side to side or top to bottom.  I also layer a veil of color over another dry area or into a wet area.  These colors can be sympathetic in hue or value or saturation, depending on the effect.   This results in a classic, flickering oil surface. Other times I use several colors in the brush and vary the pressure just so to get unique, expressive passages. I also do a lot of scraping with the palette knife for effects and paint application. I balance realism with abstraction, using a classic oil painted surface.  Technically my painting embodies the freedom of gestural abstraction with the care and considered nuance of classical realism.

 As I also have been a drummer for 50 years, my art is greatly influenced by instrumental creative music, originally fusion jazz and now the music beyond category on the European ECM label.

Twenty years ago I met Lau Chun, the Chinese Impressionist color master in Honolulu. My color developed from what I learned from him and the masters at the Detroit Institute of Art.”

“Both light and color evoking the inherent mystery and spiritual qualities of nature.” Mary McNichols Ph.D. Professor of Art History at the College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI.

“. . . color that is reaching down and scraping the human soul” Tony Suhy, musician

"Rather than depict the specific, I work in a more personal, poetic manner using a harmony of forms from observed, created, and remembered sources in their own beautiful color universe.  I paint with enough content that the mind and imagination are pleased and with enough literal image that the eye is also satisfied. Hopefully, my art conveys a sense of balance and beauty”.



4. A Casual Biography


…drew from an early age…at 13 started playing drums influenced by Father’s incessant listening to swing & big band music and to Elvis’ appearance on the music scene …began playing in R & B, Rock & Soul bands...attended Detroit’s premier magnet Cass Technical High School as a Design & Drafting student…met future wife, Pam Yee, in high school (took 20 years to marry her)….11th grade started working in Detroit drafting community… sponsored by Chevrolet Gear & Axle in Hamtramck to General Motors Institute in Flint as a Mechanical Engineering & Management major…switched to GM Styling Staff at GM Technical Center as a styling apprentice… worked as a combination Engineering/Industrial Design student…corporate life revealed him to be “not a team player”…left GM program to attend the Art School of the Society of Arts & Crafts (later known as Center for Creative Studies) during its legendary early period, in Detroit’s Cultural Center, as an Industrial Design major…first experience of the art spirit...switched yearly to virtually every department in the college (Advertising, Illustration, Photography, Ceramics) while on US government tuition grant…exposed to a life long interest in contemporary improvisational instrumental Jazz in 1969…worked throughout as a machine tool & automation draftsman and later, designer… at 27 plunged into self-employment as an Engineering Contractor…returned to CCS in Fine Arts studies (drawing, painting, mainly figures) part-time for 15 years. [with Anthony Williams, Bill Girard, Richard Jerzy, Russ Keeter, Jay Holland, Dan Keller, realists all]…married at 35…became instant stepfather, home owner, home improvement guy…bought 2nd home in Honor (after vacationing in the general Traverse City area for 20 years)…started landscape series & showing in area venues…Pam retired from Wayne County Circuit Court…1995 we relocate to Honor………had 24 one-man exhibits and has been in 104 group shows, including many juried shows at the Traverse Area Arts Council where he won several awards… awarded an Honorable Mention in the First Northwest Michigan Regional Juried Exhibition, Viewers Choice Award in the Second Northwest Michigan Regional Juried Exhibition at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, First Place in Crystal Lake Art Center Annual Juried All Media Show in Frankfort, Michigan…part of the ceiling mural restoration project at the City Opera House in Traverse City…teaches drawing and painting locally…in the collection of the Dennos Museum Center Permanent Collection, Empire National Bank, St. Joseph Hospital…



5. Art and Painting Notes


From Techne to Psyche, autotelic affinity towards the creative Flow state, leads to the search to find meaning in life, to art, truth, and beauty.

Unconcerned with the opinions of others, working deeply, for all the right reasons of meaning, beauty, and possibility, I eventually found my own imagery and passage to future possibilities.

Aesthetic- appreciation of beauty.  Beauty “A delightful quality associated with harmony of form or color, excellence of craftsmanship, truthfulness, originality, or another property.”

To voluntarily isolate and go deep, and report from the depths on what is found.

Get something you can’t “paint” on. ..structural qualities of oil paint…flickering oil surface.

Insights, not techniques. Technique to be in the service of vision.

The love and allure of beauty of sensual surfaces, materials, forms, colors, and proportions of art refreshes the soul.

Art is beginning before you know the end.

Discover something one could not imagine beforehand.

All subjects as a means of color and drawing as the true subject of a luscious beauty and transformative vision. …to uncover the energy and life within my subject matter rather than just taking original beauty and marring it with a technique based only on making a statement and not on revealing something worthwhile.

 

Serene, tranquil, smooth, elegant, yet powerful painting ideas in the service of a refined esthetic to express mystery and essential meaning; through order, form, discipline, emotion, music, and hope through balance, composition, rhythm, and color.

Sensibility- Refined awareness & appreciation in matters of feeling.



6. Art and Painting Notes of Others


To see far is one thing, going there is another. ~ Constantin Brancusi

That which they call abstract is the most realistic, because what is real is not the exterior but the idea, the essence of things. ~ Brancusi

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance, and this, and not the external manner and detail, is true reality." - Aristotle

…how the highest communion with the Divine can be found right at our fingertips in the simplest expressions of human creativity.

…the most prayerful, most spiritually powerful act a person can undertake is to create, at his or her own level, with a consciousness of the place from which that gift arises. – Matthew Fox  “Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet”.

What was the artist trying to achieve? Did it succeed? Was it worth doing? Sometimes no challenge in the first place. Little reward in an easy perfection quickly reached by many. Artists who need ongoing reassurances seek out challenges offering clear goals & measurable feedback. Easier to reach an already defined goal than to discover it within you. Some problems more interesting, relevant, meaningful. Technical challenges secondary. It’s not that they’re hard, it’s that they’re easy.


All from “Art and Fear” David Bayles Ted Orland

There seem to be moments of revelation, moments when we see in the transition of one part to another the unification of the whole. There is a sense of comprehension and of great happiness. We have entered into a great order and have been carried into greater knowledge by it. This sometimes in a passing face, a landscape, a growing thing. We may call it a passage into another dimension than our ordinary. If one could but record the vision of these moments by some sort of sign! It was in this hope that the arts were invented. Signposts on the way to what may be. Signposts towards greater knowledge.

“It would be easy to divide artists into two classes: those who grow so much within themselves as to master technique by the force of their need, and those who are mastered by technique and become stylists.”  - Robert Henri  “The Art Spirit”

“Divinely superfluous beauty”…“Esthetic arrest

“Inner motion of Nature and inner life of the artist parallel and serve as the subject…to awaken the emotion . . . engagement of your sense of self.”

“Essence of art to show the radiance shining through the forms of space and time. The whole as it manifests in everyday details of individual life.” - Joseph Campbell

Aesthetic beauty attributes: Integras - wholeness, consonantia - harmony, claritas - radiance- from “A Campbell Companion” from Joyce from Aquinas.

“Making a painting rather than just painting a picture of something” Rufino Tamayo

“Eugene Fromentin on Rubens: highest human values are involved in a patch of color, the bend of a line.” - Meyer Schapiro:

“The happiest of all lives is a busy solitude.” Voltaire

“…essential dimension of art as a vocation practiced for its own sake or to satisfy spiritual pretensions.. two professions… one directed toward public taste, the other toward forms of experience embodied only in art and to which creations from all times stand witness. In relating himself and his work to this extended dimension of art, the contemporary artist engages in a mythic vocation, in which, beyond current fashions and social and political problems, he seeks the approval of the masters. In the thirties, this second, “inner” profession, founded on art’s values, was centered not in the project [WPA]…but in a handful of young artists-Gorky, de Kooning, Pollack, Gottlieb, Rothko-sensitive to social demands, and confused by them, and in the school of Hans Hofmann, which propagated principles of form and feeling derived from the advanced European art movements. Once opportunities for art as employment ended, art for its own sake, and for the sake of the inner development of the artist came to the fore as a pioneering collective phenomenon. Out of a job, American art forgot its mirage of a respectable social status and dedicated itself to greatness.” “The Profession of Art: The W.P.A. Art Projects” in “Art on the Edge” Harold Rosenberg

 

“No painting is wholly abstract.  All art, in some way or another, is situated in the world, hoping to act as a transformer between the self and the non-self.   The great project of modernism was to propagate more ways in which this could be done.  But any view of art that insists on locating art’s meaning in its power to do what had not been done before tends to reject the benefits of the modernist spirit: it exchanges ideological cramp and historicist narrowness for the anxious and open discourse our cultural parents bequeathed us.

The signs of that constriction are everywhere today-in the small ambitions of art, in its lack of any effort towards spirituality, in its sense of career rather than vocation, in its frequently bland occupation with semantics at the expense of the deeper passions of the creative self.   Perhaps the great energies of modernism are still latent in our culture, like Ulysses’ bow in the house of Penelope; but nobody seems able to string and draw it.  Yet the work still speaks to us, in all its voices, and will continue to do so.  Art discovers its true social use, not on the ideological plane, but by opening the passage from feeling to meaning - not for everyone, since that would be impossible, but for those who want to try.  This impulse seems to be immortal.  Certainly it has existed from the origins of human society, and despite the appalling commercialization of the art world, its flight into corporate ethics and strategies, and its gradual evacuation of spirit, it exists today.” “sensuous communion with worldly delights” “great inherited themes of Romanticism”- Robert Hughes “The Shock of the New” 1980

“Passion over Convenience” - Gil Evans

“Art is not truth but the illusion of truth. Great paintings are not photographs but doorways into another world. If the painting has too little content, or none at all, only the eye will be pleased. Nor will the mind and the imagination be engaged in it if the content is too literal…, stating everything but implying nothing.” Timothy Foote - Time Life: The Life of Brueghel.

“Art generated by spiritual forces, art history properly understood is a ‘history of the human psyche and it’s forms of expression’ - Wilhelm Worringer” Jose Arguelles in “The Transformative Vision”

Aesthetics is not an academic subject, and beauty is not decoration.

…aesthetic, Beauty, art, [Aphrodite, Venus, Psyche], is sensory, survival of the soul, to refresh the soul, lure us back, sensual seduction. Tactile quality, sensuality of materials, surfaces, forms, proportions, but not in and of themselves. Allure, charming, attractive. Awaken the senses. Give in to what already is, imagining, enchantment, re-enchantment, en souling, re animate.

“ daimon, counselor, guardian angel, guide, genius, character, image, fate, soul, destiny, psyche. Socrates followed inner daimon.  “Tendance of the soul” - from James Hillman

"Entertainment gives you a predictable pleasure. Art leads to transformation. It awakens you, rather than just satisfying a craving." Makoto Fujimura

“The mechanic arts are those which we have occasion for in a young country as yet simple and not far advanced in luxury. I must study politics and war so that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their sons the right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.” John Adams 1776 from a CCS catalog

“George Inness was largely self-taught and had little patience for the detail and labor of drawing and engraving. He loved, instead, the richness of paint and color, which he called the soul of painting, and believed that one painted, ‘not to imitate a fixed material condition, but to represent a living motion.’ Alluding to subjects, avoiding mimetic representation . . . detail did not gain me meaning . . .


indirectly represent objects, directly represent or convey, atmospheric, subjective mystery of nature...not of an outer fact, but an inner life.


. . . structure his landscapes around geometric forms, a development that may have reflected the Swedenborgian idea that the natural world corresponds to the spiritual world and that geometric forms possess spiritual identities. Through these and other compositional devices, Inness created paintings to inspire an almost "religious experience" in his viewers.


. . . anticipated many of the most important tenets of modernism, an achievement that continues to inspire contemporary audiences.” All from “George Inness and the Visionary Landscape” Adrienne Baxter Bell

“. . . a perfect description for Inness' transcendent landscapes--gorgeous and radiant scenes that embody life's interconnectivity, mystery, timeless beauty, and untarnished hope.” Donna Seamen from Booklist

“...For the most part, we are losing authentic art in the marketplace, although not in the privacy of many studios around the world.” Roger Lipsey “An Art of Our Own: The Spiritual in Twentieth-century Art”

 

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