Tuesday, February 20, 2018

"Visions" - 12

and the next bottle and label is done...

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sunday, February 11, 2018

"Visions" - 8

in case wondering, am doing the panels upside down to get the wood look...

Saturday, February 10, 2018

still more thoughts on Ethics and Aesthetics

As Ayn Rand pointed out in one of her essays, politics is the last branch of philosophy to be concerned with in getting correct... why?  because it deals with the social, and one properly first must grasp the application of ethics to the individual... aesthetics is that, applying ethics, the science of values, to the rational individual from a psychological standpoint, as a way of life to the integrated person... once one understands aesthetics as a way of life for the individual, then one can understand how aggregates of individuals can properly be in a social situation...

This idea, tho a properly integrated viewing of it within an objective philosophy, is not how it has been considered over the millenia,..  consider theming - most consider theming with regards to literature, in large part because that is the most conceptually developed of the fine art branches, and as such the most easily seen in advancing the showing aspect of art... but while this theming is, by its nature embodied in a painting, what is usually considered as 'art', its importance has suffered over its history because painting has had a number of other guises -- propaganda for religions, propaganda for secular leaders, political propaganda of one kind or another, and even removed of that, as a recorder of lands, places, persons... indeed, it was not until the invention of photography that painting finally was freed of all such restraints and had the potential to actualize its fundamental purpose - to show - even as artists then did not see that or had any idea of this, in part because art had, tho created by individuals, been considered as a 'social' means to a social end... the personal contemplative nature of a painting was considered as a side issue, a consequence, not the aim - until Ayn pointed it out, backed by, as seen in the notes, a firm grounding in the basis for its existence and it psychological importance to the well-being of individuals... 

This, then, is my task, why I paint what I paint the way I paint... why I am a 'themescapist', one who takes abstract ideas and visualize them... in consequence, I do not suffer from any such thing as an 'artist block' - quite the contrary, as have more ideas in my journal than could ever begin to get done, to say nothing of continually discovering variations on given themes...

In case one has a problem in grasping what an aesthetical ethical living comprises ( and for me is a work in progress), take a look at the movie The Last Samurai, at Algren's observing living in the village  - "they are an intriguing people... from the moment they awake, they devote themselves to the perfection of whatever they pursue... I have never seen such discipline..." while their culture is in many ways at odds with rational living, they still have an aesthetic way of living which ethically aids in flourishing them as persons...

I should add one more thing - while 'selective re-presentation of what an artist considers of great importance' , a looser version of her definition of art,  allows metaphoric use for other than world-shaking ideas, provided is a positive view of existence, and aids, even in the minutae the flourishing of the individual, and have done a number of these, my focus in the future will be geared more to those 'grand landscapes' of world changing ideas... why this shift? because it has taken until now to be able to see them more completely than had, and they always were what most delighted in doing...
but not to worry - if another cherry idea comes to mind, or marble, I may take a break and render them as well...

further thoughts on Ethics and Aesthetics

The preceding three sections comprise my philosophical basis for my art...  most artists do not have such a conscious basis, tho in fact one is being expressed in every work they do... why? because they have never been taught its importance...  as Ayn pointed out, "In order to live, man must act; in order to act; he must make choices; in order to make choices, he must define a code of values; in order to define a code of values, he must know what he is and where he is -- i.e., he must know his own nature (including his means of knowledge) and the nature of the universe in which he acts -- i.e., he needs metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, which means -- he needs philosophy.  He cannot escape from this need; his only alternative is whether the philosophy guiding him is to be chosen by his mind or by chance."  Most artists, however, have been taught, or rather told, to just work with your sense of life, with your emotions, and be guided by that...

"A sense of life is a pre-conceptual equivalent of metaphysics, an emotional, subconsciously integrated appraisal of man and of existence."

"Long before he is old enough to grasp such a concept as metaphysics, man makes choices, forms value-judgments, experiences emotions and acquires a certain implicit view of life.  Every choice and value-judgment implies some estimate of himself and of the world around him -- most particularly, of his capacity to deal with the world.  He may draw conscious conclusions, which may be true or false; or he may remain mentally passive and merely react to events (i.e., feel).  Whatever the case may be, his subconscious mechanism sums up his psychological activities, integrating his conclusions, reactions or evasions into an emotional sum that establishes a habitual pattern and becomes his automatic response to the world around him."

This is a sense of life.

"Man, by his nature, cannot refrain from generalizing; he cannot live moment by moment, without context, without past or future;  he cannot eliminate his integrating capacity, i.e., his conceptual capacity, and confine his consciousness to an animal's perceptual range... the enormously powerful integrating mechanism of man's consciousness is there at birth; his choice is to drive it or be driven by it."

"A sense of life is formed by a process of emotional generalization which may be described as a subconscious counterpart of a process of abstraction, since it is a method of classifying and integrating.  But it is a process of emotional abstraction -- it consists of classifying things according to the emotions they invoke...  which particular emotions will be invoked... depends on which set of things fits an individual's view of himself."

"The key concept, in the formation of a sense of life, is the term 'important'.  It is a concept that belongs to the realm of values, since it implies an answer to the question 'important -- to whom?'  Yet its meaning is different from moral values.  'Important' does not necessarily mean 'good'.  It means 'a quality, character, or standing such as to entitle to attention or consideration' (The American College Dictionary).  What, in a fundamental sense, is entitled to one's attention or consideration? Reality."

Importance, therefore, refers to a fundamental view of man's nature.

"It is only those values which he regards or grows to regard as 'important', those which represents his implicit view of reality, that remain in a man's subconscious and form his sense of life."

"[to] an artist, his primary purpose is to bring his view of man and of existence into reality; but to be brought into reality, it has to be translated into objective (therefore, communicable) terms."

"The basic purpose of art is not to teach, but to show -- to hold up to man a concretized image of his nature and his place in the universe."  now, every work of art has, by its nature a theme, but it is only of secondary consequence.  " Art is not the means to any didactic end. This is the difference between a work of art and ... a propaganda poster.  The greater a work of art, the more profoundly universal its theme.  Art is not the means of literal transcription.  This is the difference between a work of art and a news story or a photograph."  " Art is not concerned with actual occurrences or events as such, but with their metaphysical significance to man."

Note, tho, while every work of art has by its nature a theme, the best art, then, ought to have consciously derived themes -- in effect elevating a mere 'sense of life' to a more 'wisdom of life...  note, too, the reference to 'communicable' terms, and remember that the basic direct viewing of man's consciousness is perceptual.   This means that all works of art have to be representational -- this is the difference between a work of art and decorative art (work of art referring to the class of 'fine art, which includes painting, sculpture, and literature).


Friday, February 09, 2018

Notes on Ethics And Aesthetics - 3

continuing from The Psycho-Epistemology of Art -

"The other part consists of applying his knowledge -- i.e., evaluating the facts of reality, choosing his goals and guiding his actions accordingly.  To do that man needs another chain of concepts, derived from and dependent on the first, yet separate and, in a sense, more complex -- a chain of normative abstractions.

"While cognitive abstractions identify the facts of reality, normative abstractions evaluate the facts, thus prescribing a choice of values and a course of action.  Cognitive abstractions deal with that which is; normative abstractions deal which ought to be (in the realms open to man's choice).

"Ethics, the normative science, is based on two cognitive branches -- metaphysics and epistemology.  To prescribe what man ought to do, one must first know what he is and where he is -- i.e., what is his nature(including his means of cognition) and the nature of the universe in which he acts...

"Is the universe intelligible to man, or unintelligible and unknowable?  Can man find happiness on earth, or is he doomed to frustration and despair?Does man have the power of choice, the power to choose his goals and to achieve them, the power to direct the course of his life -- or is he the helpless plaything of forces beyond his control, which determine his fate?  Is man, by nature, to be valued as good, or to be despised as evil?  These are metaphysical questions, but the answers to them determine the kind of ethics men will accept and practice; the answers are the link between metaphysics and ethics....

"Consciously or subconsciously, explicitly or implicitly, man knows he needs a comprehensive view of existence to integrate his values, to choose his goals, to plan his future, to maintain the unity and coherence of his life -- and that his metaphysical value-judgments are involved in every moment of his life, in his every choice, decision and action.

"Metaphysics, the science that deals with the fundamental nature of reality -- involves man's widest abstractions.  It includes every concrete he has ever perceived, it involves such a vast sum of knowledge and such a long chain of concepts that no man could hold it all in the focus of his immediate conscious awareness.  Yet he needs that sum and that awareness to guide him -- he needs the power to summon them into full, conscious focus.

"That power is given to him by art.

"Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgments."

" By a selective re-creation, art isolates and integrates those aspects of reality which represents man's fundamental view of himself and of existence.  Out of the countless numbers of  concretes -- of single, disorganized and (seemingly) contrary attributes, actions and entities -- an artist isolates the things which he regards as metaphysically essential and integrates them into a single new concrete that represents an embodied abstraction."
"Art is a concretization of metaphysics.  Art brings man's concepts to the perceptual level of his consciousness and allows him to grasp them directly, as if they were percepts...

"This is the psycho-epistemological function of art and the reason of its importance in man's life."
And because we see and understand reality thru percepts, THAT is why all art needs be representational - and if is not, then while it may be decorative, it is NOT art...