Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Draftsmanship

Lecture: The Blue Face: Establishing a Relationship Between Artist and Viewer

Monday, Jun 25, 2018, 7:00 PM

ENSO Winery
1416 Southeast Stark Street Portland, OR

13 Members Went

This class is part of a course titled “PHILOSOPHY, AESTHETICS, AND DRAFTSMANSHIP” It’s taught by Elliott Wall, artist and philosopher. • Class Introduction: Art, like anything else, must exist in some system of context. Let’s explore together the cooperative principle, mutual intelligibility, and the audience’s burden, and share some thoughts on cu…

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Statement of Purpose

We live in a wish-fulfillment society and are all drowning in beauty, yet in general people are possibly more demoralized than ever. Beauty and pleasure, at least as we now understand them, are clearly not ultimately satisfying. Art, therefore, must be edifying. If it isn’t then it is only just attending to the current sensibilities of the audience, and is therefore proportionally only just craft. The criteria for success with craft is well understood (paint pictures of Greeks standing around in places, in the style of Bouguereau; or paint wan looking people in rooms, like Sargent; or paint sweaty or wet people photo-realistically, for example). Contrariwise, there seems little point in making art of something which the viewer already fully accepts, and the more artistic something is the more inscrutable it becomes. Beauty, like craft, is being studied scientifically, and will also soon be well understood, and beautiful things are at all times being created almost totally programmatically through technique alone, which is to say, as a craft. We’re extremely susceptible to beautiful collisions of sounds (e.g., fancy words or “gorgeous” music), or beautiful forms of any kind, but it begins to feel vacuous and predictable, as just another pretty face or pretty painting. Then some artists try to ugly things up to relieve the boredom; and surrealism depends on the viewer having a rather normal, sane view of reality, and it seems like low-hanging fruit to just merely seek to scandalize normal, sane people. For now I’ve settled on making paintings that are pretty plain, beautiful or crafty enough, and on a painter’s technique that is good enough for our purposes, preferring to work on establishing instead a technique of thinking and technique of living life. The vehicle being, to achieve mimesis with portraits of ideas. This is all only a personal prescription however.