Tuesday, April 03, 2018

On Hating Painting

An easy contempt for human beings comes from a lot of sources. And I can't help but notice that a lot of people who hate people hate painting. 

If you really paint you are valuing what you see - and you can choose anything as a subject that can be imagined or perceived, and all of the possible intersections.  

You paint, and begin to know it. The more you think you know it, the more it escapes from the prison of the concept that what you thought it was. It is new and strange. You adopt it into yourself. You paint it and it changes you, and you change the subject in which you have inserted yourself, and the subject of your work, in turn, changes you.

Zealots of one flavor or another often despise art and painting in particular: the finger into the sand makes a mark that escapes their control of your perception of the world. And that is because authoritarians of all varieties love the principle of control more than they love the world.

They love control because they cannot separate the rise of any new uncertainty from their own crippling fear. And art, even doodling, disturbs the illusion of control like a rock throw into a pond.

And long may it be so: it is the making of art, not tools, not language, not math or greed, that defines human beings uniquely; it is the reason that we are not other animals. Painting is the direct image-product of the human consciousness, marked by the hand into the stuff of the earth, an instinct and a gift every child inherits, far beyond words. It lives within the richest human sense, the visual, the seen, the imagined, the understood, a river 100,000 years old and running as fresh as the next mind that sees and chooses to observe.