Mind Revealing Mind

"Reveal art; conceal the artist."
---Gustave Flaubert

What is self expression? Some painters have faith or confidence not so much in themselves or their skill, which they certainly possess and exercise, but in the process of making itself, in the mystery of light or color, in their paint, in the path.

There may be more, but for now we can name these four basic approaches to visual imagery making:
  • Painting in direct response to visual perception “out there.”
  • Painting in response to mental objects.
  • Painting responding to or corresponding to ideas, or primal intuitions.
  • Painting as painting: forms found in the activity of manipulating material, such as paint, paper, wood, wax, pigment, canvas, clay, stone or any material. Invoking and developing chance; the element of discovery and surprise.
So, where is mind? Is there any part of this that is not mind? How does meaning arise in relation to a thing observed, or a sound heard, or a touch, or a shape or color? What makes a form significant?

I want to bring in Ananda Coomaraswamy here, from his book Christian and Oriental Philosophy of Art:

For all the arts, without exception, are representations of a model ; which does not mean that they are such as to tell us what the model looks like, which would be impossible seeing that the forms of traditional art are typically imitative of invisible things, which have no looks, but that they are such adequate analogies as to be able to remind us, i.e., put us in mind again, of their archetypes. Works of art are reminders; in other words, supports of contemplation.

The following works seem to be from somewhere on the dimensionless edge between outer and inner, being and becoming. In the making of them, or the coaxing them into being, what was observed and where is it? Is anything observed or observable? What, and where, is that which observes?

Jennifer Hoover: Love Letter. Watercolor on paper.

From a series of manuscript leaves illustrating the phases of evolution and dissolution of the Cosmic Form. Rajastan, c. 19th century. Ink and color on paper.

Andrea Schwartz-Feit. Part of the Mind Series. Encaustic on panel.

Gregor Jamroski. untitled, Polaroid photograph.

Mark Rothko. Mauve and Orange. 1961. Oil on canvas.

Chris Kelly. Pink Moon, Encaustic on linen on panel.

Credits: The Rajastan piece and the Rothko were borrowed from the book Yoga Art, by Ajit Mookerjee, with an contribution by Philip Rawson. Boston. New York Graphic Society, 1975

Jennifer Hoover, Gregor Jamroski, Andrea Schwartz-Feit and Chris Kelly are friends of mine. Andrea's work can be seen at Butters Gallery, Portland, Oregon. Chris' and Jennifer's work is represented by Augen Gallery, also in Portland. Click on Jennifer's name to read a review of the show Grace, which took place at the Art Gym in 2001. Andrea talks to you on YouTube on the link on Mind Series under her painting, above.