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What is it all about anyway

As if anyone really knows. But we try; I try, keep going. A friend in Vancouver sent me a link to a fascinating and inspiring documentary on “

How Art Began”, written and produced by the British sculptor Antony Gormley. Gormley goes deep into ancient caves to see the drawings on the wall. Some were created as much as 80 million years ago. His point is, in other words, there is always art. We need it. Art is intrinsic to being human. It’s our mark. We need it not just as a personal record of being here but as a connection to all that we cannot know. To what makes us bigger than what we can see and touch. Or speaking abstractly, absolute truth. We create on the relative level to touch the absolute as best we can. It’s about connection. We become fully ourselves as we express the joy of being. Gormley is an esteemed sculptor. His works have an eerie power. But when he looked at one group of cave paintings, he said they made him uncomfortable. They were aggressive. He likened them to Picasso’s paintings, with distortions of the human body, especially females. I’m sure he would say the same for De Kooning’s paintings of women. I once had a student complain about the subject matter because it is aggressive, denigrates women, she thought. I find them beautiful. Aggression can be a useful energy in creative activities, it can transform its subject into something beautiful, help others to see their way through their own feelings. If art really is about truth, strives to tell the truth, we cannot deny that aggression is another energy in how we mark our world. It has power to create, to go beyond destruction. It has the power to be a true and positive reflection of our existence.


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