[ Introduction: as Provocateur . . .]

Posted: March 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

[Cont’d: from Introduction: as Provocateur]

We paint & write, tend to marriages & children, work at our labors & callings – with the same care we do our duties as citizens  as ardent Anti-PostModernists.

Better put: we paint & write – and all the rest – as Aristotelians, Thomists, as Hebraist, as Occidental & Orthodox, as Orientalists – that last is a teasing poke at Mr. E. Said’s, now, deconstructed ribs!and as Americans, as west of the Mississippi Westerners, and certainly as Californians.

We declare all that to provoke a correct look about us.

[Side Note: should have added “as San Franciscans!  It’s time – pictorially – to reclaim San Francisco: the once Western, Chinese & Jewish city. San Francisco, the theme of our Historic California Series, and an, almost, character in our novel, Forgiveness Sunday: a Marriage Redeemed in Sutter Creek.]

* * *


The Post-Modernist – our artistic adversary – should appreciate the above declaration, in view of their own ardent (near religious) devotion to the dogma of Identity Politics.

They should – to be consistent with their prime, all-consuming ethic – extend dignity to our self-declared identity. That is – to use their own wording – our universal right that all and sundry acknowledge and accept our (self-constructed) confession of who we are!

Of course, we don’t quite see it that way! And they, our artistic nemesis, may never give a nod to our dignity!

In putting out a resounding “no” to Post-Modernism are we simply retreading the tired story of Traditionalist against Modernists? Not quite. Yet, our work (and mentoring) pulls into view the culture’s long subliminal doubt about the Modernist Project. This was best put, far back in the Eisenhower years, by the Thomist philosopher, Etienne Gilson [A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, 1957]:

As consequence, modern painting finds itself in the well-known situation of the revolutionist who, after years of struggling for conquer his complete freedom from certain oppressions, finds himself suddenly confronted, by his very victory, with the much harder problem of knowing what to do with it. If there is a drama of contemporary painting, it is this.

The victory of abstractionism has been so complete that it now takes much more courage and independence for a painter to be more or less representational than to follow the crow of those who find it more profitable to exploit, as their own profit, the facilities of shapelessness. There is no denying the fact: painting is now free. There no longer remains any career to be made by fighting for its complete liberation.

(Painting and Reality, Etienne Gilson; New York, 1957, p.240)

In short, the Modern Project is exhausted. We, though, refuse to be. Our work we rebels against the tired and worn.

The Post-Modernists are ever in the throes of destructing & constructing, forever wary and fearful that what gets made will take root and, ever after, stabilize all their hard earned negations: after all the politicking over souls all their naming and renaming done for naught.

We, on the other hand, gladly work our labors to the bone according to what we received in hand. (We’re not ashamed of having painterly ancestors and forefathers.) We fear nothing but the common human temptation of short-circuiting the work that needs to done.

The tested nature of the craft can be trusted. Confident, we hound and disciple the wish to do well, letting it task our work to the utmost: a task guided by what’s been placed in our hands by all those ancestors and forefathers. We manhandle the craft and our want to do well; they manhandle us. Doing so, the world is better off for all our brushing out the truth: pushing the graphite pencil across the paper, piling up the oils on top of our Hog-Bristle Brush.

Truth eyeballed. That’s the point of what we do, and how we do it. For the sense & feel of it (and a bit of knowing what we’re up to) a perusal of the Series PAGES will do.

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  1. […] [Cont’d: if interested, see this POST] […]

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