Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dandelion


 I wish it didn't hurt so much

to pull out my roots.

Like I'm a dandelion (Have you ever tried to pull out a dandelion?)

with a taproot so deep you can

never find the bottom. Eventually, you just have to

SNAP!

that root.

And leave it in the ground.

And hurt.

Where that taproot broke.

Until the little cottony seeds I let fly

find soil,

put down a root or two, and

grow back somewhere else.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Deep, Mid-afternoon Thought about Art

I'm sitting in my dad's easy-chair, slowly falling asleep at 3 in the afternoon and I'm having this amazing epiphany about visual art.

Many people make the argument that neither this...
Nor this...
...is art. Some people even go as far as to say that this abomination... 

[Thomas Kinkade was here. I removed the photo so I won't get sued.]

...is the only REAL kind of art.

This argument, as far as I am concerned, is as fallacious as claiming that the only REAL kind of communication is that which is verbal. This is, of course, ridiculous. Most communication is non-verbal. Some say 70%, others 90... Regardless of the actual percentage, what experts and (even marginally intelligent people) all seem to agree on is that some large percentage of our communication is done without the employ of phonemes, words, sentences, paragraphs, and really long, boring speeches.

My sudden thought, as I nod off at 3 in the afternoon, is that non-objective art (such as the Mondrian and the Pollock pictured above) is like non-verbal communication. Non-verbal communication is the communication of emotion, of feeling, of the sometimes deeper meaning behind words. (The Kinkade, using this same metaphor, is so "verbal" it makes my eyeballs sting.) John Singer Sargent, in this gem...


...is communicating the placidity of the lighting of Chinese lanterns by two little girls on a midsummer's eve. He does this by actually PAINTING said girls. Likewise, this painting...

[another painting was here, but I removed it so as not to get sued. And because I didn't have the artist's permission.]

...though lacking anything truly representational*, besides little swirlies, communicates the same placidity to me in textures and colors.

 Non-representational representation. Non-verbal communication. Is either less valid than their more representational/verbal counterparts?

"But what do Jackson Pollock's crazy drips of paint even MEAN?" You may ask. I don't know. Does it matter? Art, like any communication, is a two-way process anyway; meaning is created by both the artist and the viewer. And since, in some cases, it is impossible to know the artist's intended meaning, the only thing left to do is decide for ourselves what art means. To me, Jackson Pollock's work looks like it was done, if not angrily, at least passionately. I picture him standing over an enormous canvas furiously flinging each brushful of paint. "But, he could have been totally calm while painting" It doesn't matter, because what I see is Passion.

This Deep Thought was important to me because I have heretofore been largely unmoved by modern, non-objective art. I didn't really consider the point of it. But now I want to see it all. I want to see, and attempt to understand, the artists' "non-verbal" communication. Is Mondrian communicating Boredom? Conformity? Simplicity? If so, he is doing a first-rate job.

I do not consider words to be the only valid form of communication. So, why would I limit my understanding of art to only that which is representational?

Now, back to my nap.


*I use "representational" here to indicate visual art that portrays recognizable objects.

hoop-de-do