Wednesday, December 27, 2006

If there has to be a future art

Re: Physicists Refute Fractal Analysis Of Jackson Pollock's Paintings
by RY Deshpande on Wed 27 Dec 2006 02:14 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
From a professional point of view what you are saying might be impeccable and perfectly satisfying. But I wish to look at things from an Aurobindonian point of view, the authentic spirit of aesthesis speaking about these matters in the possibilities of expression which is an aspect of progress and manifestation. If there has to be a future art, where would this fit in? Please opine. RYD

Decentered patterns which express the dialectic between order and chaos

Re: Physicists Refute Fractal Analysis Of Jackson Pollock's Paintings
by Debashish on Tue 26 Dec 2006 10:41 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
Pollock's drip paintings have their precursor in 15th c. Japanese Muromachi "splashed-ink" paintings or even earlier 8th c. Chinese Tang dynasty drip creamics, a nodal point in the socialization of the art of accident or the accident of art. I find Pollock's paintings beautifully textured, layered if decentered patterns which express the dialectic between order and chaos. The process of their creation is a closeness to universal creative processes. In this lies their profundity and "message of their time" (as RC has accurately described) to me.
Japanese Zen and Zen-influenced painting also aimed at this closeness or identification in a variety of ways. That he was an alcoholic makes little difference here since several of the best Zen painters of Japan also often created under states of heavy sake inebriation - eg. Uragami Gyokudo or in modern times, Munakata Shiko, both of whom imho stand out as giants in the art legacy of the world. DB

See the reality of the abstract behind the abstraction

Re: Physicists Refute Fractal Analysis Of Jackson Pollock's Paintings
by Rich on Mon 25 Dec 2006 10:18 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Did Pollock succeed? Well as one of the pioneers of abstract expressionism he certainly did. In my opinion some of his canvases express the subtle worlds behind our own, but some of them also just express the chaotic state of his wanderings through the intermediate zone. Does his canvases succeed in expressing a certain subtle truth of the time period he inhabited (which in some ways invoked the intermediate zone). Well I think for the most part they do.
While I certainly agree with Sri Aurobindo's that the highest expression of art is to reveal spiritual truth. I also do not think that we can use that as the sole criteria for pronouncing judgment on a work of art. ( and I have also had this conversation with my brother a staunch catholic) Artistic expression may also express the soul of a certain time period (as I think Pollacks does) it may be offered in a form of social critique, irony, satire, to awaken the viewer to certain social truth or it may simply express ones own creative response to ones own particular experience of being in the world. Now to the extent ones creative response can be universalized to awaken in the observer a sense of recognition and allows them to also internalize the experience the artist intends maybe used as one of the criteria for the success of the work.
I also agree with Sri Aurobindo's comments on Theosophy however I think that two artist who were influenced in part by Theosophy were among the most successful of European painters of the 20th century to express if not always spiritual truth then certainly a vision of the loftier planes of being. One of these artist is Paul Klee and one is Wassily Kandinsky.
The interesting thing I find in non-representational art (e..g. abstract) is that it appears on the scene about the same time when the arrival of photographic and cinematic images begin to saturate human consciousness with an endless array of images which mirror and reproduce the lifeworld we inhabit. Although this trend begins with the Impressionist in the last half of the 19th century. Its almost as if at the advent of the 20th century when new technologies emerge which can accurately mass produce the images of the world, a new medium of artistic expression (Expressionism) evolved which forced the viewer to contemplate the world hidden behind the one we perceive with the senses. rich
by RY Deshpande on Tue 26 Dec 2006 05:11 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Rich: While I certainly agree with Sri Aurobindo's that the highest expression of art is to reveal spiritual truth. I also do not think that we can use that as the sole criteria for pronouncing judgment on a work of art.
It is not necessary that revelation by the artist of the spiritual truth alone will make art great. Shakespeare had nothing spiritual in him, neither in his person nor in his wonderful art which was with any number of murders. But what an expression of the spirit of life that his is! Somehow he was able to come in intimate contact with the living beings and forces of the life-world, of a certain type, and speak for them in its own forceful and rushing impetuous language, language so perfect for the occasion, to serve the purpose as if it was designed for it. It became an authentic expression of the joy of the life-spirit itself, in spite of the crudeness of human nature and the “barbarous” strength of his presentation. He could tap that life-energy and create a vibrant world with its own charm and with its own power, casting a strange but desirable spell of aesthetic experience on us. The effect is such that the fearful Lady Macbeth turns into the archetypal and, paradoxically, takes away all the fear that is there in it, all the repulsion our sensibilities are prone to. The highest expression of art can come from any of the sources, mental, vital, physical, psychic, mystical, overhead, spiritual, and ablaze with one or more than one sun of the spirit. When that happens it becomes great.
And let us also note that the reverse is not always true. We may have spiritual contents in a piece of literature or art, but that does not necessarily make it an outstanding art. If we have to give an example it could be of AE and Yeats: one was a great mystic and the other an artistic seer, with the other part remaining behind.
About Shakespeare Sri Aurobindo writes: “…his is not a drama of mere externalised action, for it lives from within and more deeply than our external life. This is not Virat, the seer and creator of gross forms, but Hiranyagarbha, the luminous mind of dreams, looking through those forms to see his own images behind them.” And again: “Whatever Shakespeare may suggest, it is not holding up a mirror to life and Nature, but a moved and excited reception and evocation.” It looks as though the flesh and blood in his characters have such capacity that hey can become real in some other world, achieving another kind of quintessentiality far beyond the power of abstraction.
If there is the soul of abstraction, which ought to be there if it has to have contents and significance for us, then this art must bring it out, its laughter and its weeping, its colours and its musical richnesses, its warmth and repugnance, its reality that is the impersonal behind the personal, form of the wonderful formless. Does that happen? Does the art of Pollock see the images of the one it is imaging? see the reality of the abstract behind the abstraction it is making? RYD

Monday, December 25, 2006

What Champaklal achieved in his boutique paintings

Re: Physicists Refute Fractal Analysis Of Jackson Pollock's Paintings
by RY Deshpande on Sun 24 Dec 2006 08:16 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
Even if you assume these conditions, can you tell anything about the success Pollok achieved through his paintings? Did he succeed in getting or revealing what surrealism was posited for, was attempting to do? Could he deliver a solacing message to the War-torn civilisation, that its wounds could be healed by it? Or it was just a naked show of those ugly things and happenings which kill all our sensibilities? Have the subtle physical realities shone out in his creations in any deeply satisfying manner? If he has an element of mysticism, of whatever kind it be, did he realise that there is something else also than the ideal of rationality in evolution driving it and making it progress? Define a yard-stick and measure him with it. Aesthetic values are always subjective, but there is a universality as well that comes from the regions of this spirit or the soul. How far did the subjective become universal in him? Otherwise the work will greatly lose its significance.

Take the boutique paintings. The colours floating on the surface of water can at times elicit situations when some invisible eye starts seeing the wonders of creation from the depths below. The veil is penetrated and at once shines out the face of the indefinable. From the dark ocean of inconscience, salilam apraketam of the Rig Veda, a new world seems to take birth. This is what at times Champaklal achieved in his boutique paintings.

“Modern Art opines that beauty is functional! that is, whatever serves its function or serves a true purpose is artistic and beautiful—for instance, if a clerk produces a neat copy of an official letter without mistakes, the clerk and his copy are both of them works of art and beautiful!”
This is from Sri Aurobindo writing in 1935. Apropos of surrealism, it acquires meaning and value if it can go deep enough in its dream-experience, almost touching the soul-state, the inner bordering the psychic. If from that state can spring up an artistic expression, it at once becomes convincing and fulfilling. Does it happen in Pollok? He need not have anything spiritual in a direct sense, but the evocations do matter. Should we not assess him for that?

Creativity based on the unconscious process can be dangerous. The danger is of entering into the Dangerous Intermediate Zone so dreaded by the spiritual aspirants. And remember there is always a Mephistopheles waiting there to entice the gullible soul of man. To be a Mystic of the Unconscious can be self-glorifying, the lure of becoming important. But see how disastrous it turns out to be even for the accomplished. I will just quote a passage from Sri Aurobindo vis-à-vis the theosophists.

“From one point of view I cannot find praise warm enough to do justice to the work of Theosophy; from another I cannot find condemnation strong enough to denounce it. It has forced on the notice of an unwilling world truths to which orthodoxy is blind and of which heterodoxy is afraid or incredulous. It has shown a colossal courage in facing ridicule, trampling on prejudice and slander, persisting in faith in spite of disillusionment, scandal and a continual shifting of knowledge. They have kept the flag of a past & future science flying against enormous difficulties. On the other hand by bringing to the investigation of that science—not its discovery, for to the Hindu Yogin it is known already—the traditional European methods, the methods of the market-place and the forum, it has brought on the truths themselves much doubt and discredit, and by importing into them the forms, jugglery and jargon of European mystics, their romanticism, their unbridled imagination, their galloping impatience, their haste, bragging and loudness, their susceptibility to dupery, trickery, obstinate error and greedy self-deception, Theosophists have strengthened doubt and discredit and driven many an earnest seeker to bewilderment, to angry suspicion or to final renunciation of the search for truth. They have scattered the path of the conscientious investigators, the severe scientists of Yoga who must appear in the future, with the thorns and sharp flints of a well-justified incredulity and suspicion. I admit the truths that Theosophy seeks to unveil; but I do not think they can be reached if we fall into bondage even to the most inspiring table talk of Mahatmas or to the confused anathemas and vaticinations hurled from their platform tripods by modern Pythonesses of the type of Mrs Annie Besant, that great, capacious but bewildered and darkened intellect, now stumbling with a loud and confident blindness through those worlds of twilight and glamour, of distorted inspirations, perverted communications and misunderstood or half-understood perceptions which are so painfully familiar to the student and seeker. If these things do not satisfy me, what then do I seek? I seek a light that shall be new, yet old, the oldest indeed of all lights.”

We have to have vibrancy, another vision of things, a gaze looking into the luminous spaces of spiritual calm that alone supports the expression of love and joy and sweetness and and beauty and happiness of form, even its assertive dynamism. That gives a real push to evolution.

O T Ravindran, an Indian painter of plants, once wrote about a cactus. “Plants, especially the natural ones (as opposed to those artificially made) have a vibrancy of their own. They only need our help to bring out the beauty in them. Even the weed growing unnoticed in the thicket is strikingly beautiful. Plant them, sketch them and arrange them and they become pieces of fine art. Art, whatever man may claim it to be, is nothing but his sincere effort to imitate the unattainable perfection that is Nature.” Imitate, ...well! But at least imitate it well!

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa quotes Kabir: The formless Absolute is my Father, and God with form is my Mother. That’s it. RYD

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Form has to express inner beauty and harmony of the thing

Re: Physicists Refute Fractal Analysis Of Jackson Pollock's Paintings
by RY Deshpande on Sun 24 Dec 2006 06:19 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Scientific fractal or no fractal, I wish to understand, and enjoy, the spirit of beauty in a creative art, of whatever kind that be. Whatever be the technique and whatever the means of execution, form has to express inner beauty and harmony of the thing; it can even attempt the expression of the formless--as we have the infinity of calm on the sculptured statues of Buddha in the Ajanta-Elora caves. Can someone please look into it from that point of view and evaluate Pollock's paintings? Thanks and Merry Christmas to everybody. RYD
by Rich on Sun 24 Dec 2006 03:36 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
Pollock's painting perhaps retains an influence of the automatic writing which inspired early 20th century European surrealist and also perhaps due to the growing popularity of psycho-analysis sought to express the pure spontaneity of the unconscious process underlying creativity. Perhaps one can view in his work the coming into being of certain subtle physical realities or perhaps they just reflect the chaotic state of Pollock's own unconscious influenced by his bouts of manic depression and alcoholism. Of course his work can also be viewed according to the emerging trends in the arts of the time, which were themselves influenced by the devastation of civilization triggered by the World War, which shattered any idea that evolution was progressive and driven by and central organizing ideal of rationality.
His canvas like some modernist literary works or contemporary atonal music of the time lack a defined center or focal point. The entire canvas is both center and periphery. This is an idea which of course has spilled over into the postmodernist worldview. His earlier works however are influenced by American heart land artist Thomas Hart Benton, (an artist I much admire)- and demonstrate that he could also beautifully portray form in a classical sense. also a merry christmas to all, and hope to see everyone in Pondi in Jan. rich

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I'm an extremely tactile person

LIFE IS THE COLOUR YOU PAINT IT - Daily inspirational paintings by New Zealand artist Sophia Elise This is a new series I have started which is unlike any of my other art. Each day, from December 1st 2006, I will complete a painting with a favourite saying, quote or phrase on it - My thought for the day. Each month will have a different focus or theme.
Sophia Elise, Auckland, NZ : I am a self-taught artist living in Auckland with my partner and four children. I balance our busy home life with working as a nurse, managing the New Zealand Art Guild and painting with any free moment I have. My art can be found in select NZ galleries and has sold internationally. I paint in acrylics, as the quick drying properties suit my abstract minimalist style. I'm an extremely tactile person and incorparate this love of texture in most of my art. I feel the extra dimension this adds enormously satisfying. Drawn from the depths of my emotions and forged by my environment and experiences my uniquely original art is a window into my soul. "If my art can reach into the soul of another and emotionally and spiritually touch that person, then it’s all worthwhile." email: View my complete profile
The words read "Let all circumstances, all happeneings in life, be occassions constantly renewed for learning more and more" - Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Mother as an artist

On 13 October 1897, Mirra Alfassa married the artist Henri Morisset. She kept the name Alfassa. Henri Morisset, born in Paris on 6 April 1870, was eight years older than she and already had an established reputation as an artist. He had studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts with Gustave Moreau, the Symbolist painter, who taught Matisse around the same time. Moreau was a liberal teacher who did not impose his own style on his students. Before entering the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1889, Morisset had studied for four years at the Ecole Nationale des Arts Decoratifs. There his teachers were Bouguereau and Robert-Fleury, who were also professors at the Academic Julian. Morisset was enrolled at the Academic Julian in 1889, as is shown by a surviving register of male students. It was apparently not uncommon at this time for art students to study simultaneously at the Academic Julian and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
We do not know when the Mother met Henri Morisset, but it is likely that she knew him for a few years before their marriage and that he was instrumental in her joining the Academic Julian. She was introduced to him by her grandmother Mira Ismalun, who had long known Henri's father Edouard Morisset, a noted artist. Mira Ismalun (whose portrait in pencil, done by the Mother in 1905, is reproduced on p. 49) lived much of her life in Egypt. There she was employed to supply the wardrobes of the princesses, which she ordered from the best dressmakers in Paris. She also commissioned portraits of the princesses "to be done from photographs by the painters Vienot and Morisset"." This may have been the origin of her acquaintance with Edouard Morisset. In her reminiscences in 1906, Mira Ismalun enumerated her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, ending with her daughter Mathilde and her family:

Finally, Mathilde and her husband Maurice Alfassa, who became a French citizen in 1889, have had, after losing a son Max, two children: Matteo, who entered the colonial service on graduating from the Ecole Polytechnique and married Eva Brosse, and Mirra, who married the well known painter Henri Morisset; I knew his father, and it was I who first took her to their home. They have had a son, André.
André was born on 23 August 1898. Earlier that year, Mirra and Henri had been in Pau, a town in the southwest of France, painting murals in a church.