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Finding Meaning In Creative Expression.

It is difficult to talk about the “state of the Arts” without sliding into a cynical tirade about the commercial or political nature of how the art world works. But this is not that article. But I have been delving into what the purpose of art is. And should art have or at least try for a Spiritual component or does art get a “free pass” in terms of purpose and meaning? I understand this is quite a deep subject and that there are more than a few different aspects of art creation that give lots of people meaning and purpose. My focus here is beyond the material and looking mainly at Spiritual Meaning.

I will give you an example. One of the last times I can remember being overwhelmed by a picture was at the Perth Art Gallery. It was a modest size painting of a single haystack in the early morning sunlight. It barely had a horizon line. Thinking about it now is still...wow. The colour, the light, the simplicity and the energy of the paint, astonishing! And this is my point, it was just a bloody haystack!! No deep meaning, no profound message. Yet it touched something in me that even to this day still affects me. (I was going to add a picture here but when I looked online there wasn't an image that could even remotely do it justice).

We all have “keys” that we have buried in order to keep from remembering who we are, and they can be brought to the surface in many ways. Should art be shooting to expose them? Or is that too much to ask of our creative endeavours?

I was reading an article by the art critic Donald Kuspit, titled – Reconsidering the Spiritual in Art. You can read the whole article CLICK HERE. It's quite a read and extremely hard to give you just an extract but...

"...Kandinsky had in effect come to doubt that art was a vehicle for creative transcendence — that it could transmit a sense of transcendence of what it represented in the act of representing it, indicating the artist's spiritual superiority to it, that is, implying that the artist's creative subjectivity is more to the Human point than materially given objective reality. The artist's fundamental act of creativity consists in projecting his or her subjectivity, with all its problems, into objective reality—creating into it, to use D. W. Winnicott's eloquent phrase—making it seem humanly meaningful as distinct from merely materially the case. The appropriation of some aspect of objective reality as the temporary sensuous form for the artist's subjectivity imbues objective reality with a spiritual consequence it otherwise lacks.”

“It was Kandinsky's spiritual crisis, involving doubt of his own creativity, as noted, generalised into the disturbing feeling that art had no purpose...”

"…I am suggesting that Kandinsky experienced what Viktor Frankl, great psychoanalyst, calls an existential neurosis, that is, "frustration of the will-to-meaning," indeed, a sense that human life, especially inner life, had become meaningless in the modern scientific-technological materialistic world—meaninglessness is associated with deep depression—and with it art, the keeper of inner life, as it were...”

And this is the thing, the recognition of the meaninglessness of the world, is only the beginning of your Spiritual Awakening. If it were the goal, you would simply destroy yourself (which is not possible). Yet when we apply the condition of meaninglessness to ALL our thoughts and beliefs, if we are honest and seek only the Truth above all else, we are lead to a place of non-judgement and without any ability to judge you become free. Free from guilt, fear, worry or concern. For me, it was a recognition of my complete dependence on God for everything, including meaning.

I do feel there is quite a void forming in regards to the Spiritual in Art, and the way we are bombarded with images can be overwhelming. Can it even be expressed creatively through a two-dimensional picture plane? Or even as a 3-dimensional object? I don't know but I shall enjoy attempting to find out.


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