|First Thaw, 11" x 14," oil on board, 2015|
“…Gnosticism is a kind of mysticism, as the best abstract art is .... (In gnosticism) the true source of existence is the divine; authentic existence seeks to return to its divine source. It is not clear that it can; gnosticism posits a Manichean conflict between the darkness of being-in-the-world and light, the sign of the absolute transcendence of God.... gnosticism is very contemporary, because of the perverse if unconscious feeling of the human as thrown into nothingness/darkness and, if it wants to sustain any sense of itself - any sense of a reason for being - having to reach for “gnosis,” that is insight into the light of God, while falling in the nothingness/darkness of the world….(certain paintings) articulate this gnostic predicament.”
“Thus there is knowledge for the sake of knowledge, knowledge for the sake of serving one’s neighbor, and knowledge in order to better love God." (Donald Kuspit, Redeeming Art)
Commenting on the images in (Sartre's) “Nausea,” Bachelard writes that “Roquentin’s sickness is in the very world of his material images.… Bachelard condemns realistic or intellectualistic explanations” (i.e., like the gnostics, in favor of a different, more holistic kind of knowing). (Introduction to On Poetic Imagination and Revery)
|Sun Showers #2, 10" x 8," oil on paper, 2015|
The goal of painting is not to render what things look like. (Don't make paintings of things: Make paintings. Paintings are equivalents, new pieces of Nature.) Painting is about visual metaphors for the experience of noumena, symbols of a deeper experience of human being-in-the-world.
“Consider the etymology of the word ‘metaphor.’ Meta (beyond) and phora, meaning to carry: Carrying meaning beyond the literal, the tangible, beyond the grossly semantic, to the self-contained Ding an sich (thing-in-itself, knowable only intuitively) .... Metaphor is the generator, the power plant of music, just as it is in poetry [or painting]. Aristotle places metaphor halfway between the unintelligible and the commonplace. It is Metaphor, he says, which most produces knowledge. The artist cannot help but agree, nor can the lover of art.” (Leonard Bernstein, Harvard Lectures)
“It is a secret which every intellectual man quickly learns, that, beyond the energy of his possessed and conscious intellect, he is capable of a new energy (as of an intellect doubled on itself), by abandonment to the nature of things; that, beside his privacy of power as an individual man, there is a great public power, on which he can draw, by unlocking, at all risks, his human doors, and suffering the ethereal tides to roll and circulate through him : then he is caught up into the life of the Universe, his speech is thunder, his thought is law, and his words are universally intelligible as the plants and animals.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The Poet,” Essays, Second Series, 1844)
|Sun Showers #3, oil on canvas mounted on wood, 12" x 12," 2015|
"It is in moments of Being when man has fount THAT beyond words and thought and has called it Brahman, Atman, Elohim, God, Nirvana, Tao, Allah, or OM which according to the Upanishads includes all names, and other sacred words. In a state of contemplation and union (as Saint Teresa defines them in her “four ways of prayer”) the knower and the known are one. Ego-consciousness has disappeared: the painter of the tree has become the tree.” (Juam Mascaro, introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of The Dhammapada)
“Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer.” (Simone Weil)
|Monadnock in Winter, 6" x 8" oil on paper, 2015|
“But now, like a whispering in dark streets/rumors of God run through your dark blood.”
as I who came back from the same confusion
learned to pray.
those old holy forms,
but they shone differently,
fierce in their beauty.
trust me. I will not betray you.
My blood is alive with many voices
telling me I am made of longing.”