NOCOMENT: The Philistine and the Philosopher

I recently stumbled across a blog post, a derogatory sound bite about abstract art, abstract artists, dealers and collectors of abstract works – a post by none other than an artist. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Provocative statements have power, power that can sometimes have an opposite and galvanizing effect. I’ve pondered my compulsion to paint for well over a decade – I even took an undergraduate course in philosophy of art to discover the meaning of art (I really did). The main thing I discovered while reading is that philosophizing about art and its mental gymnastics turn empty – I realized the answer wasn’t to be found in a book.

A profound spiritual experience is easily mocked if never having experienced it for oneself, and there in lies the essence of art, abstract or otherwise – the power to be moved so profoundly by simply witnessing an aesthetic creation by another creative human being. The first time I saw a Mark Rothko painting, the earth quaked – this was a seismic shift, and one that overturned my perspective on painting. Anyone who has seen the luminous moment in the movie Mona Lisa Smile when Miss Watson uncovers the mural-sized Jackson Pollock to her Wellesleyian undergrads knows what I’m talking about – it’s a moment, and impossible to either quantify or qualify.

When one is moved, so brilliantly, and so terribly, then surely we have to concede the event. Of course the nature of the event is unfathomable, it is a mystical experience, which is why the question What Is The Meaning Of Art? can only be asked by those who have not yet personally experienced art to its fullest potential – the experience is an experience, not an essay. As an artist, as an abstract artist, I live for this event, I paint for this event, and the potential for others to experience art at its most powerful.


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