16 July 2020

Beginings, middles, and the end of the canvas

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 12 June, 2020, oil on canvas board, 40 X 35 cm

John Cage says that life is never-ending, that the Beginning, the Middle and End is not part of the natural sequence. He also says that it is the reason why recordings are not music (he hears the trees rustle as music for instance, as a better model of Art)

I disagree, with all due respect to him. I say that Art (and music) is manmade, not natural, therefore one cannot confuse this with life. And because this is so, the beginning, middle and the end of a work are crucial partitions in separating Nature from Art. 

And yet, the Natural world also behaves in cycles of beginnings, middles and ends, so an artist makes these abstract partitions necessary for Art to function as independent of Nature. A painting is after all, an abstraction, pulled from the nature world and 'man handled' onto a canvas or whatever other form, but to say that this is Life is making a mistake. I agree with Cage that it isn't. It is ART, and it is manmade and so unique. But all animals, insects, microbes also create form with wilful intent.

I think we must take from the natural world and re-configure it into something human such that it symbolically follows our own lifespan, our beginning, middle, and our end...

1 comment:

  1. Fine thoughts. What distinguishes artwork/its form from utility (beautiful forms made by other animals) is its ultimate use. Art hasn’t any practical purpose other than an expression of Man’s spiritual/mystical/aesthetic consciousness.