Well now, I'd like to say some things...
Good art begins with very simple, prelocutic archetypal motives, propagating into such complexity as to be nearly chaos, resimplifying through brutal critique into something beautiful. Sometimes. Realism as an artistic style is the clearest means of communication. Universal, multidimensional, visceral. It is our common language. Styles that stray far from it lose much of their aesthetic potential. Yet, too much information becomes distracting noise, and beyond the medium's usefulness for genuine communication, subjectivity is all. So much modern art fails, given instead to perceptual contortions and novelties. The near universal tragedy of public abstract art is based more in selection committee’s fear of offending anyone with anything representational, than with beautifying public space.
Within the blur of change brought by our technocracy, many a dated meme and trope retains value for assessing new terrain. So I don't think validation is really an issue with mythic themes, that have all but carried our cultural evolution. The causal parallelism between material, cognitive, spiritual vectors allows for so many layers of symbol and communication. Conception of divine truth from the earliest times must have been beyond strange, for the mind has evolved toward reason through eons of trial and mutation. And it is vanity to say we've arrived.
I never had the easy convictions of those untroubled by knowledge of their own ignorance. Nor, more than any, the time enough to fully study a choice before it’s taken or evaporates. Well enough to mull over my coffee, trying to rebuild the foundations of philosophy from the ether, truths neither unique nor predictable. And the works demanded of their logical conclusions, neither easy nor difficult, simple or complex. But must be done, for knowledge without implementation is but more vanity. And when something Real is actually accomplished, to ask again, what is this new horizon? Who am I to stand before it?
Such questions of identity are easiest to answer from a social, relative context. And not inaccurately, we being links in our species, augmented profoundly with a mote of awareness. Robert Graves proposed that true belief required an isolated fellowship. Thus the irony in looking for Truth from many paths, to gain a whole understanding. So rarely do those who seek enlightenment from the myriad colorful paths life presents, come away with more than practical personal answers. I measure their enlightenment by their actions, or sometimes lack of. Though the tide of technocracy seems to dwarf all other changes, its drive to hedonist oblivion purges itself as fast as it births each new fad. The opiates change with each generation, and lifetimes squandered in synthetic fantasies are an unfortunate pinnacle of secular humanism. Not so much a Koyaanisqatsi ( a way of life demanding a new way of life) but a new way of life being replaced by older ways of life. To look at the population numbers, in America it will be Mormons and Hispanic Catholics. (and maybe Clevon from Idiocracy). So if we survive Herbert's Butlerian Jihad, huzzah for the Bene Gesserit.
From the day of Creation, the pendulum has been lurching in every direction, about fulcrums too subtle to casually perceive. The conflict between Luddite and Borg is a thin illusion, as is that between atheist and fundamentalist. These come from how the mind measures identity, and time. Our perpetual state of untenable imbalance, avoiding one crisis only to fall upon another, both individually and and a species and a biosphere, they are our growth toward what we are to become. We don't need a string-theory 11 dimensional universe, we've got that already, for every layer of order and chaos evolves higher forms in which new dialectics congeal into shapes we may eventually recognize. A parallel to the Hindu Atma may be understood from an atheist perspective as the determinism by which causality goes from that distant moment of creation into a fixed future, a certain destiny that was wrought immutably at that first moment. Only in our finite horizons, is it seen as chaos. This is not in conflict with 'free will'. Free will is but each vector of life serving its own agenda, revealing its nature. The harmony of multiple beings is better measured retroactively.
Some journal recently had an article on the value of monotheism measured as a survival trait in evolutionary biology. What took them so long to figure this out? Causal parallelism almost defeats the measure of truth by consequences. And we humans so often defeat our own search for truth by sticking to those friendly pundits selling us infotainment to titillate and polarize, and end up with only those bits that serve these market-evolved agendas. Even seeking multiple, diverse sources, there are still wide gaps of what knowledge serves no-one's agenda. Only by gravitational lensing do we know where black holes are. Where then is the lensing in our kultur? What we need to become may serve no current agenda, but the sacrifices it took to get where we are heading will be vindicated by those who will write history according to their own. This is only a circular logic for those who think they are the beginning and end of themselves.
More gently put by Tolkien , the Anglican author of beautiful antediluvian pantheons: ‘As we are made in the image of our Creator, shall we not also create?” A recurring vergence here, between humanism and monotheism, that we as a species hold up a higher standard, a moral duty to compassion and human rights. Even seen from the perspective of an atheist evolutionary biology, this standard retains its value. Thus I come to see little argument between these basic paradigms, and steer clear of the dogma and hyper-partisanship that catches up so many in needless conflicts based more in pride than theology or economy. If Zarathustra says the Doer alone learneth and the Good Book says by your works shall ye be known, where's the conflict? Truth is only for those who seek it enough to listen to their enemies, and that's the genius of our spiritual teachers, who understood human nature better than any humanist. Siddhartha, Rumi, Patanjali and our own Jeshua, they had no quarrel, but spoke in a language their people could understand. Yet people endlessly confuse the stupidity of the faithful with the substance of the faiths. Prayer is only the use of the innermost voice, and grace is the engine of karma.
Turning back to the topic of art, I want to say the anachronous motif among my work is incidental, since the most potent nodes of emotional truth occur over the whole length of history. But time has a way of washing away the trivia. The act of remembering etches a memory the louder. Changed with remembering, so less exact, but maybe better than exact. A thing which in its own time was camouflaged by the noise of like things becomes a thing half buried in compost, and the smell of such compost becomes part of its character. A thirst for understanding is whetted by the strangeness of the most primitive and the most advanced, laying a course for hermeneutic symbolism in art. How is Tolkien different from Twilight? The best art does not contain meaning, but is contained by it.
Carrying through the Promethean labours of this art through the dark years, my sincere thanks to these:
- To Bernini, Borromini and the named and nameless sculptors of antiquity, pioneering the horizons of an art radiant with meaning, etched into the macrocosm.
- From more recent history, Mucha, Parrish, Rackham, Blake and those crazy pre-Raphaelites.
- Johann, Lothair, Dolce, Chuck, Pegi, Ray, Zac, Barb,Ciara, Death, Ann, Paul, Guy, Erin and the many friends who gave their time and sometimes their blood to see these projects through, may the karma of your toils come back to you in abundance.
Descend from Heaven, Urania, by that name
If rightly thou art called, whose voice divine
Following, above the Olympian hill I soar,
Above the flight of Pegasean wing!
The meaning, not the name, I call: for thou
Nor of the Muses nine, nor on the top
Of old Olympus dwellest; but, heavenly-born,
Before the hills appeared, or fountain flowed,
Thou with eternal Wisdom didst converse,
Wisdom thy sister, and with her didst play
In presence of the Almighty Father, pleased
With thy celestial song.