[On Painting the “Provocatives” . . .]

Posted: March 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

[Cont’d: “On Painting the PROVOCATIVES”]

* * *

Talking of “talk”, we’re speaking of talk that both sustains and expands the public’s attention of our work: the PROVOCATIVES, and all the rest.

Sustains, because the character of any work deepens, improves over time: deepens and improves the good about them.

Yes, the good!  For, like beauty, art, bound to its nature is moral; it makes a bid for righteousness – even when the art of it must detour through the ugly.

Expands, because each painting builds upon the others: even if, at first glance, they may seem unrelated by theme or subject.

In short, taking an Aristotelian clue and a Thomist hint, a good work of art both acts and is acted upon (a nod to James W. Schall).

* * *

Exhibit the first PROVOCATIVES and the public perks up and talks.

Talk gets going, not only because what gets kicked-up and provoked is worth talking about (that’s obvious), but because of the look of it (the way it is pictorially put). In this our PROVOCATIVES will not disappoint.

Yet, provoking & dust-up kicking is not the primary meaning or duty of art. That is never, in itself, the point of it: Provocative Art for the sake of Provocative Art (like crucifixes in piss water).

Art provokes because it is worth the look, a looking-about which is earned by provoking something greater than itself. Truth . Even the ugly – low-down and evil as it is – is compelled to give a nod to it.

Our PROVOCATIVES sweet God we pray – paint-up the Truth.

Painterly purpose copulating with oils and canvas (flesh and vision): the very act of doing grasping God’s finger, the one used to stir up Eden’s dust into flesh.  It is this, the putting of Truth into flesh that gets “talk” going.

Like an image taking to oils on canvas, Truth concedes the need – the very necessity of essence – to be seen and touched. Even love sees the point, incarnating her universality into particular affections.

Truth, like love, yielding to physicality.

Here is the point of it, the purpose of picture-painting: fleshing-out the love for Truth, the Hog-Bristle Brush slap-dapping it onto the canvas.

* * *

The PROVOCATIVES are not sent forth because time’s running out for the Artist, because the Artist, like St. Paul, has come of late!

There’s nothing to make up, no lost years to recoup, no need for panic. That would do the Body of Work no good.

One cannot paint upon a canvas of regret.  No good is had in sending forth works of desperation.  That only gets the truly ugly – this is, the untruth – talked about.

OK, maybe there’s no panic, no excessive grief over wasted time, but there is urgency, a hurrying up.  For we do confess, the PROVOCATIVESas all our works – are broad of shoulder, hairy-chested, and got the balls for the job at hand.

The PROVOCATIVES participate in the working out of our salvation.

Guilt’s not the prod here. We paint up the PROVOCATIVES because they will make good on redeeming misused time: the past saved for the future by the present standing up.

* * *

With the good done – done by the PROVOCATIVES being goodly to look at – our Body of Work sustains a wide, long look-about, each one unloading a glancing grace upon the whole.

Send them forth!

* * *

 © Stephen L. Golay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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