Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving 3!

I want to give thanks to visual arts. They are one of the deep mysteries for me because what they give is not easily explained using just intellect or aesthetics or in fact any arguments at all. Some works of art are like a fist into the stomach, unyielding in their demand to look, to see, to understand something which always just escapes understanding. Others are like the scent of vanilla or cinnamon or like the scent of Solomon's Seal: the more you try to inhale the scent the less you smell it, but when you give up and stop trying there it is - suddenly - and gone as quickly, leaving behind only something which matters but why?

Trying to analyze art is for me a fascinating and fun game but it never gets to the reasons for that basic reaction, a physical one, which forces me to pay attention to something. It's not that the analyses don't matter, they do. But they cannot unravel the mystery completely and totally, and they can never make the explanation for that initial stunned moment something that one can just file away as an intellectual fact.

I have many favorites among the visual artists, but today I'd like to mention Leonora Carrington. She is not well known but her work gives me that inexplicable initial thump. Or perhaps something subtler in her case. Anyway, this is one example of her paintings: Adelita Flees

She is a surrealist as you can see, but what kind of a surrealist? What is surreal in her world view? What is the painting really saying? It speaks to a nonverbal part of me, sadly. Also happily, of course.
Link to the Guardian article by Darryl Pearce.