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Defining Art

April 6, 2016

The Chase

After nearly thirty years of producing art I realised that I was following a belief based on conventional wisdom and an engrained conceptual notion of art, which was based on generalities. Because I’d never actually challenged the definition of art from an empirical standpoint in which I made art before defining it as art. Knowing without truly understanding because as so often is the case, knowledge can be based on assumption and conditioning.  So in my sudden realisation I questioned if “art” may in fact be something other that what I assumed it to be. It wasn’t an over-night awakening, but more a gradual realisation that art in society is in fact manipulated to fit within a contemporary context and essentially compromised. Making art a moveable feast, whilst remaining constant in adhering to certain dogmatic principles of universal agreement.

Alone Together

Now when I look at a dictionary definition of art, I can never agree with what I read, because it simply doesn’t describe either my intent or my practice as an artist. I didn’t choose to be in this predicament, but instead it fell upon me through my circumstances as an artist who asked too many questions. Questions which I had to ask because of my marginalisation as an artist in my own society, in which my contribution is overlooked and ignored. I believe there are reasons why I’ve struggled, because as an artist I’m unable to impose an absolute framework or guaranteed outcome. And I can’t offer this because I realise that uncertainty is a key ingredient to my art and that compromise is unacceptable for the purpose of ingratiation. Because if my art is to flow freely then my circumstances must allow it to.

The Art of Expression

The issues and struggles which emanated from the rejection of my art made me question the role of the establishment in its support of art and artists. It also made me question the western notion of art, both historically and in a contemporary context and to be quite honest it didn’t hold up. The more I questioned art in society from an objective perspective, the more I realised just how contrived our notions of art are and how they reflect and support the structures of society. And as my own art contradicted the actuality of my life within the art world I became caught between opposing ideologies which were tearing me apart. Which is why I still write about art to this day.

The art of Life

This period of my life has been a painful journey in which I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that my personal success as an artist is also my failure as an artist in the context of my own society. And it’s been in the picking up of the pieces that I’ve finally managed to understand my predicament and redefine art from my own perspective through an empirical response. I simply had no choice, if I wanted to maintain my dignity and  find a way of restoring a sense of pride and belief in my work. Having  found my direction once again, I’m still faced with the same dilemma of producing my authentic art without any support from the system, as just another the muted artist.

The art of companionship

I feel it’s a sad truth, but sometimes you have to endure great hardship, in order to elevate yourself from complacency, simply because you have no choice but to look for answers. So look for answers I did and sure enough I found them, but the truth which has emerging for me is one of inconvenience. So whilst I’ve been able to restore the faith in myself as an artist, my struggle is by no means over. I’ts just a shame that the institutions can’t deal with the simplicity of showcasing a broad representation of art.

Within 1

I feel left with no choice but to continue making authentic art which is never seen and live a life of obscurity, all because I believe in the integrity and unpredictable nature of art. Art made through an authentic pursuit of human creativity, a life searching for new ideas. Art without guarantees and certainty, because it’s made as a speculative gesture in a desperate search for substance and truth, art to connect and explore values fundamental to our existence. Not art with a price tag for rich collectors, not art made to please the movers and shakers and not art as a vain egotistical  gesture. Because art just isn’t some petty and crass business opportunity in my opinion, but more a means to communicate the authentic contemplation of life and predicament. So for me real art needs to bypass bullshit and steer clear from the tissues of lies and grandiose claims.

Hanging Out 1

You see the way I see it, is that art is not about beauty or financial value and not about any simplistic definition, but instead an open expression without boundaries. Because of this art requires a leap of faith to produce and it also requires a leap of faith for those who wish to act on its behalf. And so there is a huge responsibility upon curators, critics, and academics,  to actually understand what art is and so they can serve up a considered representation of human endeavour. Otherwise they fail in their responsibilities to society and in doing so erode the cultural wealth of nations, which in turn dilutes the values of our existence. And yes art is that important to the culture of civilisation and not some convenient pawn of a broader strategic imposition.

The cat jumped through the dream

I for my part as an artist have done my best to communicate my feelings on art and have also gone that extra mile to produce work beyond my assumed capabilities. I’ve articulated my thoughts and ideas, but from the margins I’m aware of the futility of my endeavours such as here on my blog and the other social medias where my work has such a limited reach that sadly it’s really no longer worth the effort. And so I must once again look for other ways of exposing my work to a broader audience.

 Thanks for looking 🙂

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