As part of my self-study of art history and philosophy I’ve lately been reading up on Postmodernism. What I’ve read makes me see art produced after the 1980s with eyes that feel they’ve been redesigned to see differently—much more openly partnered with mind and informed by questions that no longer take art as something I or experts already know. Rules, history, the canon of the marketplace, all these signify where we are blind and where our eyes nevertheless must see.
For a long time now I’ve championed the idea of creativity as something that happens when we lose control of our judging, sensible selves. It’s like a Zen master deftly, swiftly running his brush across the paper or canvas completely without guile, without a preconceived design. His mind rushes to his fingers that suddenly extend life to the brush. The brush is where life momentarily resides, ephemeral like the very particles of light that make up what we see—an image struck out of the streaming metal of fleeting time.
But maybe selflessness is not enough. We are humans after all. It’s humanity that we must paint, write, sing or dance. It’s self transmuting our memories of loss, our incapacity, guilt and sorrow. It’s self celebrating itself.