A question I posed myself for this Exhibition was why do we make art in the first place:
Why have we been we been drawing pictures, painting on walls and surfaces, carving stone and wood and building monuments, pyramids, totem poles for at least 30,000 years? What is this urge to create something concrete and not just leave it as a thought in our minds?
The answer for me came in Otto Rank’s vital book ART AND ARTIST. He determined that it was from fear of loss and change that art was born. Rank was a psychoanalyst who helped many troubled artists of the 20th century find their way back to art. I can’t recommend this book enough for the searching mind.
YEARNING FOR IMMORTALITY
Our mortality and transience were as much a puzzle, problem and concern for our ancient ancestors as it is for us today. They must have wondered when loved ones died or disappeared, where they went, would this happen to them too? Would the animals hunted for food still be plentiful after the hunt? This is a fear of extinction, a yearning for prosperity and immortality. We find it reflected in powerful drawings and frescoes of the ancient caves, in Europe, in the archaeological findings of Neolithic culture, the ruins of the Aztecs and Mayans all wanting a way to control life.
Primitive religion began as a belief in souls. It was and still is a matter of spirits and demons. We now use the word Soul as a metaphor for all objects that became vessels for immortality. These immortality symbols can range from dream material, to our sun to stars to stones, to insects, worms, butterflies small and large animals, birds and eventually priests and kings, all can acquire sacred connections to the invisible powers that decide our fate.
Art was the way to concretize what was only an abstract immaterial idea of the soul to make it “real” and true, giving it the mark of permanence. This real or concrete object provided, a hope and comfort that life would come back in some form of rebirth and the problem of death solved. Art could make the soul tangible, real and in a way prove our lives mattered even after death.
I am grateful to have had some time and opportunity (Petley Jones Gallery) to pursue my interest and curiosity about the origins and importance of our creative urges and how we have used them both in constructive and destructive ways. The paintings for this show use a variety of techniques to express the different feelings I had toward the subjects, such as humor, fantasy, historical narration, and wonder.
Click on thumbnails for larger images and description.