Sunday, 18 March 2012

The truth in the moment

I am fascinated by the way that being in a gallery and looking at paintings, sometimes of simply a red square, can so move me.  Reaching this place or inspiring it in others has underpinned my motivation as a painter.  

My MA was in Cultural & Critical Theory and my dissertation was entitled ‘Is the aesthetic experience revelatory of an exclusive modality of truth?’.  I chose this MA rather than another painting course because I wanted to know whether what I was experiencing could be deconstructed using philosophy or if there was an element of truth in that moment that was only accessible through experiencing the painting itself.

My studies took me on a journey through enlightenment aesthetics and beyond, with Kant providing the backbone of theory on the subject.  I should mention that his critiques of the beautiful and the sublime weren’t limited to art-related experiences but could equally be true of a sunset or a thunderstorm, a natural disaster or a piece of music.

I came across wonderful theories of how the aesthetic experience leads us to transcend our boundaries of self-consciousness (which are always cognised by us in the past tense) by floating in the true present moment. 

I fell totally in love with the language that had been pushed to its limits to pin down something ineffable.  My studies drew me closer to my own understanding of how I could describe the process of what happens to us in that moment of encounter with the artwork.  But it has been connecting to the memory of that freedom when applying paint to canvas that has formed my pilgrimage towards my own revelation of the truth of being.

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