Painter F. A. Alsbach
“Eventually the people decide what is truly Art with a capital A.”
Dynamesis, and random musings on art trends etc.
Dynamesis ( my cobbled together contraction of Dynamic Mimesis ) This is the best term I’ve been able to come up with to express my interests and aims as an artist. I’ve considered other terms, expressionistic realism for example. Like many artists I don’t like style labels, but in this hyper-text world it seems necessary to develope your own intelectual handle before someone else forces an unwelcome label on you.
Some random thoughts on Art from tDynamic = Dynamic is used here in reference to the visual arts as it is more commonly used in reference to musical composition, and as an expression of a more intense emotional and spiritual content than is generally common in realism. Edward Hirsch in his book “The Demon and The Angel” explores the concept of duende (in a certain sense a poets version of The Art Spirit, by Robert Henri) a concept, duende, I am mostly in sympathy with and would contend is very close to what I am getting at with the use of dynamic in this context.
Why not realism? Realism as a style was born in a time of great intelectual arrogance (The Enlightenment). And in common usage it is an excessively broad term. Realism emphasizes depicting the visual world as it is, without interpretation. Nearly synonomous with naturalism which is a little more scientific in attitude. Not my paradigm at all.
-I am not a carbon based mechanical means of reproduction.
-I am not a reporter, nor a recorder.
-I am not an emotional wreck needing an outlet for cathartic self expression to maintain my tenuous hold upon reality.
-I am not a sentimentalist.
-I have little regard for the zeitgeist.
-I am not a politician.
What I am is an artist, the real thang, like it or no.
-I live in a specific place, Marshall Missouri, which is in the country, small town america, rural america. Far from any megopolis.
-I love this place, I love these people.
-I think we are seriously underestimated, ignored, by the dominant urbanocentric mentality of our time.
-I am a living breathing human being, a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a friend.
Realism = A term that is overburdened with meanings but difficult to avoid in the vernacular. I might prefer Representationalism but it’s such a mouthful, in more ways than one. (Realism alone being a philosophical corner I don’t wish to paint myself into. Naturalism feeling too self absorbed and pseudo-scientific for my taste.
Contemporary to Neo Classicism, Stuckism, Thinkism, etc:
-Contemporary Art; isn’t a movement, it’s just too broad a term for the diverse and antagonistic stew thats been brewing since, well at least since POP art. The thing is though, there are some basic paradigms that are just destructive, some that are just silly, and some which I think offer hope:
Synthesis; a movement founded by Trey Parker and myself in the late 1980’s was a worthwhile effort with no traction. We lived too far from the action, near Kansas City, and were too far ahead of our time. The idea was to synthesize (synaethesis is what I think is actually the proper term if I recall) the diverse movements and urges of post-modernism into a coherent personal style.
-“The idea is more important than the art.” ( Ideas for idea’s sake is a fun playground game but it goes nowhere fast.)
–“The style is more important than anything else.” (Style for style’s sake is just flat out ridiculous.)
–Irreverence is no big deal, and a little shock for attention is a way to get noticed, so ok fine, but a mean narcissistic attitude, a condescending attitude towards working people ang their religion, personal & political persuasions should not be de rigeur. (This is the true crime of the contemporary art world, which contends in it’s thesuarus-rex monthly tomes that it’s all for freedom and personal expression however outrageously vacuous, unless of course they disagree with the point of view expressed.) My objections to the descending stair of shlock shock is due to the fact that is is destroying the creditability of the arts. It is cheapening artistic expression.
–“Talent, and the craft of drawing, painting, sculpting, et. al. skillfully towards a purpose (content) is irrelevant.” (Stupidity personified.)
— “Beauty, aesthetic beauty, is so 19th century.” (Patent nonsense.)
-Neo-Clasicism has had several revivals over the centuries, and really isn’t a 21st century movement but an attempt at another revival.
-Currently I feel most drawn toward the Stuckists as people, they seem like artists I would enjoy being friends with. The drawing & painting skills seem a bit uneven among some of the Stuckists. So it goes. I like the open, sincere effort to express without contrivance, or cynicism towards an imagined evil middle class. At the invitation of Charles Thomson I joined them.
-Thinkism seems to me to be a one man ego trip (David Kam) more than an art movement. MAKING people think is a little too much like MAKING people work, or MAKING people kill, or MAKING people do anything, it’s just asinine.
-‘En Plein Air is a silly pseudo french term for American’s to go around spouting. Yet there are many artists who promote themselves and are promoted as ‘en plein air artists. (It just means painting outside, in the plain air. ) Which is like whoop te doo, so what, I don’t care where you do it or how you do it, but I do care whether or not you do it well. There are some skillful artists among them, but the content often tends to be weak, banal even, or nonexistent.
Some questions about contemporary & conceptual art:
… What is the benefit to most of humanity if I pretend I am a sophisticated idiot while screaming like a spoiled child and calling it angst?
… Is the New really always the most significant, if so can’t any insane fool hop up on stage and flop around naked while screaming like a savage, the lights just a flashin’, cool special effect film shorts burning across the walls, then the lights come up, one artist casually strolls out, squats, and defecates while another slices the throats of ‘volunteers’ from the audience and everyone gasps as the ‘volunteers begin their all too real death throes. “Wonderful…Oh man how original.” “They willingly sacrificed their lives for the sake of Art!”
… What is the point of esoteric wall paper?
… If I can’t reach most people, if I make paintings or other artwork that only the initiated “understand” and everyone else is offended, am I not mostly pleasing my own pitifully insignificant ego.
… Equally silly is the making of skillfully sweet & sour confections which intentionally numb the intelligence of the casual observer. All fleece the public.
… Aren’t the most difficult ancient and challenging tasks for artists simply being avoided by this and much other behavior.
… In what other field is clumsy incompetence and super slick indifference equally rewarded and the gaining of true rare mastery often ignored?
… I hope my paintings are echoes of lost music from a common inward land, the sound of place, of moment, both fearful and hopeful, known to each of us… alone. Everyone seeks this mostly peaceful place, yet is afraid to find it, as am I.
… The truth is… we can know no lasting peace without deep beauty, and we can know no more profound beauty than inward peace. Not being a peaceful man by nature, upbringing, or predilection, I seek, and occasionally find, elements of that ever elusive peace through love of; my faith, family, nature, learning, and work.
… I love this strange ancient unreasonable, unrealistic language.
Post-Contemporary = Contemporary Art as a time period (late 20th century), attitude, and/ or paradigm in art has used itself up. Thus the -post- meaning after.
Here is what radical philosopher Steven Lehar says:
“What is Representationalism?
Representationalism is the philosophical position that the world we see in conscious experience is not the real world itself, but merely a miniature virtual-reality replica of that world in an internal representation. Representationalism is also known (in psychology) as Indirect Perception, and (in philosophy) as Indirect Realism, or Epistemological Dualism. “
For an in-depth discussion of representationalism and alternative epistemological formulations see the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
There are two alternative usages of the term representationalism which should not be confused with the term as used here. One usage is representationalism in art, which refers to artistic realism, as opposed to abstract or ornamental art. (Not exactly how I would have put it but, oh well.FAA ) The second usage is a form of representationalism in philosophy, as espoused by Tye and Dretske. This is however a corruption of the original usage of the term as defined in authoritative sources. ” Steven Lehar http://cns-alumni.bu.edu/~slehar/Representationalism.html
TO BE CONTINUED or just thrown out someday…
BTW: Currently my favorite philospher working today is Ellen Dissanayake.
Michael Davis, the great contemporary translator and commentator on Aristotle writes:
“At first glance, mimêsis seems to be a stylizing of reality in which the ordinary features of our world are brought into focus by a certain exaggeration, the relationship of the imitation to the object it imitates being something like the relationship of dancing to walking. Imitation always involves selecting something from the continuum of experience, thus giving boundaries to what really has no beginning or end. Mimêsis involves a framing of reality that announces that what is contained within the frame is not simply real. Thus the more “real” the imitation the more fraudulent it becomes. (The Poetry of Philosophy, p.3)