“Vision that responds to the cries of the world and is truly engaged with what it sees is not the same as the disembodied eye that observes and reports, that objectifies and enframes. The ability to enter into another’s emotions, or to share another’s plight, to make their conditions our own, characterizes art in the participation mode. You cannot exactly define it as self-expression – it is more like relational dynamics. Once relationship is given greater priority, art embodies more aliveness and collaboration, a dimension excluded from the solitary, essentially logocentric discourses of modernity. Partnership demands a willingness to conceive of art in more living terms. ‘Compassion is the rooting of vision in the world, and in the whole being,’ states David Michael Levin. It is a way of seeing others as part of ourselves. When art is rooted in the responsive heart, rather than the disembodied eye, it may even come to be seen not as the solitary process it has been since the Renaissance, but as something we do with others.” (ibid, p. 106)
I am interested in reclaiming meaning from abstraction, finding it in the inherent complexity of the reality of being. To our detriment, western culture has assumed meaning is found in our thoughts about a thing and its commodity value. Suzi Gablik recounts a chilling example of a grieving Monet painting his wife on her deathbed; "to his horror, he found himself drawn by his painter’s instinct to ‘the blue, yellow, and gray tonalities cast by death.’” (The Reenchantment of Art, p. 99) However, if meaning is also a thing of substance, it is found in relationship between subjects rather than detached observation or commodification. I am embarking on an effort to re-enchant art, even traditional art, to walk away from the consumerist need to buy and sell myself and find ways to facilitate participation and relationship.