Sunday, October 25, 2009

Some Thoughts on the Aesthetics of Process, Realism and Representation


I'm the most unsystematic of thinkers. A pathetic failure as a philosopher, I would never be able to develop a coherent critical, aesthetic theory. I like to think the way I write poetry and fiction, the way I would make a painting: by association.
Mix and match.
A collage of shapes and colors.
Interrupt the static horizontal line with the descending arc of the dancer's arm--a hint of orange in the upper right to compliment the dominant blue-green of water and forest.
And yet I find that my thinking, such as it is, does evolve, does develop, though not into anything organized. Never into something with a beginning, middle and end. My ideas always in tatters, scattered fragments and pieces--but the fragments aren't what matters, or rather, what does matter--is the very state of their fragmentation; that whatever it is that makes them seem to (temorarily) cohere, to fall into and out of shifting patterns--like pieces of colored glass in a kalaidascope, remains outside what I'm able to secure in language.
The space between the words.


A while ago I wrote a review of an Alice Munro short story HERE:

Misquoting Camus... one fragment

Artistic creation demands of the writer
that he/she reject reality
for what it lacks
and for what it sometimes is.
In a recent post, another...

Literature and art are borne of the stuborn and always failed effort to image forth what cannot be seen, to forge into words what cannot be said or thought, to bring to our ears what has never before been heard.
It follows then, that critical writing worth the time to read, will be devoted, always, to exploring a numinous failure. 
Not a failure to achieve something that exists out there, in some mystical or transcendent reality. A  creative failure,  a lack, the not yet: the aesthetic quality of a work that emerges from its generative power, from that which created it, as the first word on a page (or musical note or brush stroke or step of the dance) generates the next--each new word at once, setting limits, and opening into newly infinite multiplicity. The generative process doesn't end with the last word or the final brush stroke--but is continued, awakened from silence and invisibility through the engagement of viewer and reader. A becoming that is never finished, never complete. Not creatio ex nilo, a becoming from nothing, but from the something of the work, as the work is a continuation through the artist, a becoming from the something of world through the artist's dialog with reality... keeping mind that each word, each brush stroke, every cultural idea and convention called upon or suggested, is part of, not seperate or other, no less real...
 ...nature is made better by no mean
but nature makes that mean. So over that art
Which you say adds to nature is an art
That nature makes [...]
...this is an art
Which does mend nature--change it rather, but
the art itself is nature.
Winter's Tale. 4.4

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