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The Purposeful Quest

November 3, 2014

 

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In my search for a purpose and to define a true understanding of art, I often contemplate on contemporary art in quite a generalised way, almost like a general consumer or viewer. I like to assess my feelings of what art actually means to society, the possible influence of art on society and why prevailing trends become etched into the fabric of society. Is art reflecting the prevailing trends of a wider political and cultural context or is art leading our thinking into new areas and offering a significant cultural influence. Whilst I see art that is something that can enlighten us and offer us an alternative window into the nature of being, I also see it as a directional influence that is purposefully diverted by controlling interests. I want to know if I can trust the establishment and believe in what art has to offer society and whether or not I can believe in art itself as a paragon of human expression, which transcends the diluted values of controlling interests. Personally my gut feeling is that art is pretty much controlled by the upper echelons of the societal hierarchy, which limits its influence, yes there is a significant freedom but there is also great limitation to the individual. The myth and reality of self empowerment is a huge misnomer of modern existence, as there are great illusions and subterfuge which disguise our reality, through many mechanisms. For example my freedom of expression is curtailed in many ways, such as the social and professional pressures that exert pressures upon me to conform and these implied pressures are hard to break free from, I can tell you that from experience. I can for example experience humiliation and derision from displaying work that I fully believe in, or it can be ignored and overlooked, an irrelevance to the wider community, even though it’s vital to my own practice. So there is a filtering process that we are just expected to accept and believe in and if we are rejected or not even seen, do we give in or keep going. With my own life I have chosen to keep going in spite of great hardship, just because I want to live with sincerity and a purpose that is true to all I believe. Though I do believe my tenacity has taken me that one step beyond where my relevance can only be measured through my own values, because I have pretty much left the arena and rules of the great art world. Through my examination of the structure, values and interpretations of art, I no longer felt a part of that generality, or that there was even a place for me and my work to rest easily. So now finally in a sense I’m becoming free to do as I please, because I have liberated my thinking from the confines of conformity and the pre conceived expectations of conventional creativity. My life and my art is in my hands, with an open horizon, to do what I see is right for me and to follow the path that leaves me feeling satiated by my endeavour. Only I can judge and feel the relevance of my own artistry, because that is a reality of the human condition that each and every one of us has, and whilst support from others is good the satisfaction of self realisation is what really counts in my life. I can no longer perform like a caged monkey to the whim of whom so ever takes an interest, no, instead I express myself and say what I have to say about life from my experience and dedication. Bluntly I care nothing for the opinion of critics, curators, gallerists, patrons or any self-declared experts with directional interests who seek to influence for the benefit of their own agenda. Because I know that there is nothing absolute in art that can be quantified in universal terms and that all interpretations are to some extent subjective conjecture.  And so I finally released myself from the tentative clasp of the establishment with all that it promises, because it had nothing to offer me, you see I don’t want to be rich or famous, I don’t even want any critical acclaim, I no longer require anything more than I already have. My life is real and honest, I make no great claims and I expect nothing beyond the satisfaction from my own endeavour, to me my art is beautiful because it is my true voice and explains how it feels to be me.

 

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My search for a meaningful purpose leads to many thoughts in quiet moments, such as when I was in the bath a few moments ago thinking about the prominent British artists and their role in society. I thought of Hirst as a great symbol of entrepreneurialism and the vulgar excesses of capitalism, how he extols the virtues of greed and ego  as a profound pursuit for humanity and in this sense he is a great role model and thought leader for those with similar agendas. While it is easy to judge people, there are always underlying reasons why certain issues trend in society and why prevailing attitudes support certain iconic figures. Art becomes woven into the fabric of society both as influence and of influence, here it performs a significant role and becomes etched into the general consciousness. Artists are defined by their work in quite an obvious way, their values paraded for all to see and we who identify with certain artists, identify for a purpose, it may be to give us a feeling of gravitas with our own approach to life or an elevated aspiration to which we see ourselves climbing towards. However I believe that all art has a purpose and we judge it in order to help define ourselves through a projection into imagery and we also use it as a tool to contemplate the possibilities within, which helps construct a stronger sense of self.

 

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I then moved on to thinking about Tracy Emin and wondered what it is that she has to offer through her art and why it has become an important part of the establishment and in my sweeping generalisation, I saw her as a figure of hope for many, a woman exposing her vulnerability through great strength. An icon to the latent possibility within us all and a demonstration of how we can turn the tables and triumph over adversity, turning our pain and truth into a victorious expression, something that I feel that most of us can identify with. Exposing the divine feminine within the context of a tough and unforgiving society, as such she is a great role model with a clear message, which I feel is an important and worthy contribution.

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I  then looked at why Grayson Perry has established such a firm place within the establishment, though I have to admit that my knowledge of this artists work is at best anecdotal and based on hear say. But again from this limited perspective I wonder if he has become a Bridge to the general understanding of art and whether he has become an explainer of contemporary art within the establishment. Making the establishment definitions of art understandable to the general population and debunking myths. Again this is a crucial role for an artist and one that demonstrates the possibility of arts influence in society. His art appears accessible and quite popular across the board which I imagine will draw many people into a fresh examination of art, which again is vital to a healthy society.

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Finally my thoughts turned to old Mr Gormley a stalwart of the British establishment, a man who is very much a safe pair of hand with a fairly conservative oeuvre. His work touches on contemporary aspects but rests heavily within the context of the figure in art and gives a level of security and solidity through work that is accessible and relatively easy to understand. Of course the work is backed up with heavy rhetoric should we find it too much of a mystery. I believe that this work stands as a supporting pillar of the establishment offering dependability and strength to an art world that has become increasingly questioned by those it should be engaging. It is my belief that art should primarily be produced for the general population, accessible and inclusive to the broadest possible demographic. In no way am I inferring that art should be diluted, no quite the contrary, it should be challenging, thought-provoking and educational, the result of a deep enquiry and the subsequent sharing of acquired wisdom.

 

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And now I must fly 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤

 

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