Limitations and Boundaries

The notion of Art exists first in our mind. We transform the idea from our mind into the physical world, so we can share it with others. Clearly, Art is real when it first emerges in our mind. To deny this is real is to deny our thoughts are real. I have encountered some people who know something is out there, yet are not being able to understand what it is and how it fits into the larger picture. Reading books written by Francis Schaeffer (www.labri.org) helped me develop a viewpoint that explains the larger picture of Art for artisans.

The existence of any Art begins with the fact that God willed and brought the universe into creation.  Because he created, we have the capacity to create. Why? Our creation was in the image of God. Without this beginning point we have nothing but vagueness with no sense of continuity between the past, present, and future. Our existence is not clearly defined or anchored in an event. Our existence is vague. We are drifting, bouncing off things that we encounter.

In this mode of vagueness, we often use random serendipitous events (happenings) to anchor our existence and provide temporary meaning for who we are. However, the serendipitous events are easy to replace and subject to social interpretation. Without independent universals (something that really exists and is not constrained by our universe) to anchor our knowledge base, we only have movement, change, opinion, and serendipitous events driven by the whims of our peers. Our truth becomes vague and conditional upon the happenings. When vagueness is part of our art, the notion of vagueness begins to undermine everything around us. Something that is art today may not still be art tomorrow because we have no anchor for our view.

My impression from reading books about Ansel Adams suggests he believed photographs to be more honest Art than paintings. He felt the truth was clear and unambiguous in photos, cameras can capture truth in front of the camera; furthermore, he felt that paintings were impressions of the artist’s eye; not always true to the physical image first viewed by the human eye.

I wonder is the physical image photographed the actual Art and the photo simply recording what we saw with our eye? Which is the Art? Consider a landscape painting of a particularly stunning Devils Tower scene. Which is the Art? The tower or the painting of the tower? The physical object and the painting of the physical object are distinctly different. One is the actual thing created by God and the other is a replication skillfully created by man. Where do we draw the line? Is not the artist guilty of claiming to make original Art when, in fact, the artist simply copied what was seen with the eye? Is not the real artist the one who created something that was previously unseen by any eye?

Francis Schaffer (www.labri.org) often used the term createdness as a descriptor for physical objects. I submit it is either not knowing or denying the createdness of physical objects that is at the root of much of this struggle. If I accept the initial created world as the initial Art (providing a template for artists to follow), then I can point to a specific location where Art first emerged and I can assign a specific date and time to the Creation of the Art (assuming I can pinpoint the creation to a specific space-time historical event). The object is real.  Because it is real, it has meaning.  I can build upon the event.  I can connect my Art to the initial palate of Art generated during the initial Creation. The lineage back to the initial acts of Creation connects and assigns meaning to the Art as I engage in creation on a lower level than the initial Creation. The moment the object comes into existence, I can discuss the creation of that object as Art (and any other function the object fulfills). My discussion of the creation method and ability of the Art to communicate is rooted in the initial acts of Creation and the communication that occurred during that initial act. Because of the inherent connection to the initial Creation of Art, I give credence and authentication to my actions while, at the same time, provide credit to the initial and only Artist who actually created something out of nothing.

However, when we deny the notion of Creation at a global level, we give up our ability to create Art within the context of a space-time historical reality. All we have left is something Simone Weil called, uncreatedness. Please understand, if we disconnect Creation from Art, I am not saying that the art made by humans does not exist. What I am saying is the art created by humans is just there, void of meaning, only linked to itself and disconnected from everything else (no beginning and no ending, no fixed point in space and time that marks when it came into being). Without a connection to the real beginning point (Creation), art has no meaning, no legacy, and no message.

The disconnected art cannot really communicate (without the independent model of Creation) because it has no basis for communication. We really cannot say the music changed our mood or spoke to us because the music (art) is empty, void of anything. The art becomes sterile – existent without emotion or definition. The transition in mood we think we feel from art is empty. We are simply training ourselves to feel moved. Once we remove the createdness from everything that surrounds us, the meaning of art and the categories of art can only be established by some sort of leap. a disconnection from logic. We can change the meaning of art as often as we wish because there is no firm anchor to give the art actual meaning (Truth). The art floats in an irrational world. It is meaningless.

Perhaps I have taken this too far, but in my view, the first Creation is the beginning of Art. The first Creation has a place in time and history (debating when Creation occurred is for another blog at another time). The first Creation, accomplished by God, a God with a personality, gives meaning to Art. With this universal model, we can logically state that Art made by humans can exist;  Art can reflect truth;  Art begins the moment it came into existence; Art can be good. At this point, we come full circle to the Logos.  In the beginning was the Word (Logos) …. through Him (Logos) all things were made. Creation by the Logos is the anchor that provides meaning and legacy to our Art. We are created in image of God. Because the Logos created us, we can create.

Art, generated within the notion that Creation is real, can communicate, is connected to other Art, and can move people.

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