near & far (art & reality)

“in order for yuichi’s desire to come into reality, either his desire or his concept of what was real must perish.  in this world it is believed art and reality live quietly side by side; but art must dare to break the laws of reality.  why?  in order that it alone may exist.”  –yukio mishima, forbidden colors

on my afternoon walk yesterday (dogs in tow) i thought about things near & far.  the dogs’ reality is about nearness, what is at hand (or what is at nose.)  they are all about scent (esp. joey now that he’s going blind) & the macro is of utmost importance to them.

mishima’s quote was rattling around inside my head: that in order for art to exist it must break the laws of reality (for this little vacation i’ve indulged in i’ve picked up forbidden colors for a re-read 30 years since i last had opened its covers.)

& looking at these photographs that i took on the walk, i got to thinking about the end of reality & the beginning of art;  the plant life i photographed is real,  but only because we have been told it is.  could it not exist separately as a work of art in its own time?  as an abstraction of its reality?  perhaps even as a work of literature/music/dance; the staccato beat of the green leaves in contrapuntal harmony with the fuzzy white blossoms.

& just as a writer utilizes language by manipulating vowels & consonants, parts of grammar (participles & pronouns & gerunds & prepositions) to construct a voice (personal & universal) purposefully & with full intent to suspend belief so that their art exists solely on its own so does the visual artist juxtapose near & far, dark & light, color against color, shape & form & compositional tropes that play with our desires (real & unreal.)

like yuichi, must our desires (or our realities) perish in order for one or the other to exist & thrive?  without our foreground (our foot in reality) this photograph (above) would cease to be representational of our reality, instead its background (so far away) would be bands of blues stacked in abstraction eliminating reality (but is it art?)

i believe mishima is correct that art must exist on its own, separate from our reality (or our grasp of what is real) in order for it to truly function as a work of art.  it separateness compels/propels our grasp of its truth & its mirror, its reflection of our reality is its essence.

like this hawk floating on the updrafts from aliso/wood canyon, art is both near & far, at once real & still at odds with our reality.


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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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