Jan 17, 1998 01:44 AM
by Mark Kusek
>I appreciate Mark K's comments on art, maybe because he IS an artist, which
>I am not. I feel that art is definitely a way to access emotional,
>psychological, and spiritual realms in the way the spoken word can never
>do. Exalted (or debased) states of consciousness can be evoked in the
>viewer. The art of the ancients was practically ALL art of a spiritual
>nature starting with the cave painting and sculptures of our most distant
Thanks Keith. I agree with you that visual art can tap into things that
words can't touch, at least not in the same way. As far as ancient art
goes, depending on what art you are refering to, I would agree that a
lot of it was indeed intended to serve fetishistic, totemistic,
ritualistic or magical aims. I don't know if I'd go as far in
characterizing the majority of it as "spiritual" in the way you seem
willing to do, but a lot of it certainly was. Art historians don't
really know the intentions of the cave painters. Their scholarship is
empirical, but their conclusions about the use and intent of the cave
art is admittedly speculative. They confess that they will probably
never know for certain the painter's attitude towards the work from
physical evidence alone, but offer their theories in relation to
assumptions about other documented historical and currently existing
hunting cultures. It is a fascinating study. The work has great power
and beauty. It stirs deep wells within us that no art created for
contemporary museums or galleries can do in the same way.
>I have been rereading works on the Golden Mean proportion in books on Sacred
>Geometry. The ancient greeks discoverd mathematical formulas for expressing
>the order and design of our world as expressed in two dimensional or plane
>Temples in Greece and even Egypt use formula to express this divine beauty
>and invoke the gods and archetypes themselves in glyph and stone.
There are a couple of great exposes on this topic, written specifically
for artists, by Jay Hambridge under the topic of "Dynamic Symmetry."
>Ancient art was often stylized and unrealistic because they were expressing
>inner states and other worlds.
..or because they had only figured out a few schemes for representation
based on other ways of organizing ideas of form and pictorial space.
>The Renaisance gave us perspective and
>brought the angels themselves down to the earth plane and put them in Mary's
>bedroom in an uncomfortably realistic fashion. Nobody believed those wings.
>They were too real!
A lot of devout people in the Renaisance did believe those wings. Many
surviving popular conceptions of angels in western culture owe their
form to those paintings.
>Zen art is an interesting attempt to do more with less and get enlightenment
>with a few brushstrokes. I have learned to appreciate modern art and the
>truncated, distorted, forms that persist in the commericial art and logos of modern
>states and corporations.
>You know, people used to believe in the divine right of kings and that
>priests really could contact the gods and give prophecy. These things are
>still true today but it is so hard to believe. Most people chase the most
>devasting of illusions and art forms commonly called the "dollar". Talk
>about MAYA! It isn't so much an illusion as collusion. I will believe
>those green sheets are worth something and kill myself chasing them if you will.
I believe that, in the ideal economy of the heart, currency is
equivalent to love made visible thru work (at least for me).
>We had a talk at our lodge in Houston by a lady from New York who is a
>theosophist and artist (not uncommon really). She spoke on the spirituality
>behind the heiroglyphs. She pointed out that the vulture (so repulsive to
>many) is actually a bird of high spiritual significance to the Egyptians as
>are the dung rolling beetles or scarabs.
>Beauty is in the eye, as they say, but so many of today's artist don't even
>try to justify their hedonistic excesses with a spiritual philosophy of say
>a Kandinsky. Think of Curt Cobain and the joke title "Nirvana".
>Now there is a spiritual leader without a cause!
Most art is just like most everything else: mediocre.
If theosophy postulates catagories of humanity like "average, advanced,
approaching the path, on the path of initiation, etc," is it suprising
to find art and artists representing each of them?
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