I remember standing in the Clyfford Still museum in Denver and feeling the electrified energy of his art wash over me.
And I thought, he is long gone, but what he made still has the energy that he poured into it. It is his legacy, to bequest something that makes us feel, although he has gone away.
Art is seductive. Entrancing. It, like writing, or music, or dance has the power to make you feel. Art is cheeky, subversive, conveys meaning, it’s political, apolitical, respectful, irreverent, it is the collective subconscious. Art is philosophy, art is protest. According to Kandinsky there is an inner resonance, to quote from his wikipedia page:
Colours on the painter’s palette evoke a double effect: a purely physical effect on the eye which is charmed by the beauty of colours, similar to the joyful impression when we eat a delicacy. This effect can be much deeper, however, causing a vibration of the soul or an “inner resonance”—a spiritual effect in which the colour touches the soul itself.
“Inner necessity” is, for Kandinsky, the principle of art and the foundation of forms and the harmony of colours. He defines it as the principle of efficient contact of the form with the human soul. Every form is the delimitation of a surface by another one; it possesses an inner content, the effect it produces on one who looks at it attentively. This inner necessity is the right of the artist to unlimited freedom, but this freedom becomes licence if it is not founded on such a necessity. Art is born from the inner necessity of the artist in an enigmatic, mystical way through which it acquires an autonomous life; it becomes an independent subject, animated by a spiritual breath.
23. Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l’art, éd. Denoël, 1989, pp. 105-107
24. Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l’art, éd. Denoël, 1989, p. 112 et 118
25. Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l’art, éd. Denoël, 1989, p. 118
26. Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l’art, éd. Denoël, 1989, p. 199
27. Kandinsky, Du spirituel dans l’art, éd. Denoël, 1989, p. 197
In fact I attended a talk at the LA Art Show where MOCA Director Phillipe Vergne discussed Jeff Koons’ famous balloon dogs. He said part of Koons’ intent in creating the balloon dogs is not to capture something so mundane as a relic of a child’s birthday party, but that the balloons themselves are made using air, which contains the magic, the very spark of life.
That magic, that electricity is something we should embrace in each other. Locally. Spiritually. Ethereally.
It doesn’t meant the artist must belong to you. That you should micromanage things until you choke the very magic out of them.
L’artiste doit apporter toute son énergie, sa sincérité et la modestie la plus grande pour écarter pendant son travail les vieux clichés qui viennent si facilement à sa main et peuvent étouffer la petite fleur qui ne vient elle, jamais telle qu’on l’attend.
The artist must bring all his energy, his sincerity and the greatest modesty to remove during his work the old clichés that come so easily to his hand and can stifle the little flower that never comes, waits.
Henri Matisse, Écrits et propos sur l’art
But, for a time, you can share that energy, feel that feeling that the artist intended. Much like we don’t truly own the earth, but we have that spark, and we belong to it. Be that person who makes people feel. Step into your darkness and your fear and learn how to sit with it. How do you paint the essence and capture the energy of your subjects? How do you express intent and being and the magic of life? That moment in time is just on loan, for us to borrow. But we should be happy when we borrow it, when it is our turn. Cherish it for the gift that it is.
Si, sur une toile blanche, je disperse des sensations de bleu, de vert, de rouge, à mesure que j’ajoute des touches, chacune de celles que j’ai posées antérieurement perd de son importance. J’ai à peindre un intérieur : j’ai devant moi une armoire, elle me donne une sensation de rouge bien vivant, et je pose un rouge qui me satisfait. Un rapport s’établit de ce rouge au blanc de la toile. Que je pose à côté un vert, que je rende le parquet par un jaune, et il y aura encore, entre ce vert ou ce jaune et le blanc de la toile des rapports qui me satisferont. Mais ces différents tons se diminuent mutuellement Il faut que les signes divers que j’emploie soient équilibrés de telle sorte qu’ils ne se détruisent pas les uns les autres. Pour cela, je dois mettre de l’ordre dans mes idées, la relation entre les tons s’établira de telle sorte qu’elle les soutiendra au lieu de les abattre. Une nouvelle combinaison de couleurs succédera à la première et donnera la totalité de ma représentation. Je suis obligé de transposer, et c’est pour cela qu’on se figure que mon tableau a totalement changé lorsque, après des modifications successives, le rouge y a remplacé le vert comme dominante. Il ne m’est pas possible de copier servilement la nature, que je suis forcé d’interpréter et de soumettre à l’esprit du tableau. Tous mes rapports de tons trouvés, il doit en résulter un accord de couleurs vivant, une harmonie analogue à celle d’une composition musicale
If, on a white canvas, I disperse sensations of blue, green, red, as I add touches, each of those I have previously laid down loses its importance. I have to paint an interior: I have a cabinet in front of me, it gives me a feeling of living red, and I put a red that satisfies me. A relation is established from this red to the white of the canvas. That I put a green on the side, that I turn the parquet into a yellow, and there will still be between these green or yellow and the white of the canvas the reports that will satisfy me. But these different tones diminish each other. The various signs I use must be balanced in such a way that they do not destroy each other. To do this, I must put my ideas in order, the relationship between the tones will be established in such a way that it will support them instead of defeating them. A new combination of colors will succeed the first and give the whole of my representation. I am obliged to transpose, and that is why we imagine that my picture has completely changed when, after successive modifications, red has replaced green as dominant. It is impossible for me to slavishly copy nature, which I am forced to interpret and submit to the spirit of the picture. All my relations of tones found, it must result in a tuning of living colors, a harmony analogous to that of a musical composition.
To Andria, I’m so glad to count you among my dearest friends. May you and Todd have every happiness in your new life, together.
Art carries so much meaning for me. I hope that this painting captures one important moment for the two of you. We are all made up of strokes of the stories of our lives, it shapes us and shapes what we create today. Looking through the lens of life, I love you and Todd very much and I am so happy that you have joined your lives together. May you make much art together, friend.