Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Ultimate Battle

     On the heels of 'Oddity of the Mind,' I would like to turn back to discuss 'Black Gold, Texas Tea.'   People who are familiar with this painting know it as a black square, high gloss, about four foot square.  There is a large drip in the lower, center of the painting.  In real life the entire surface is actually very sensual.  I painted it by pouring black oil on a square canvas.  When viewed in real life, at the right angle, two figures can be seen underneath.  Why did I make this painting?  How does it relate to my latest piece, 'Wheat Field Bound' and the essay, 'Oddity of the Mind' ? It is my constant search for dual symbols that challenge the ego.  How and why?  At the root of consciousness, the visceral, emotional response to the world around us is either fear or creativity.  Broken down into its most basic form, fear is a belief, conscious or unconscious,  that we won't have what we need to survive.  Many people have aptly described this the 'survival' mindset.  The survival mind looks at the world around it and sees it as 'fixed.'  That is, what exists must be fought for, held tightly, protected, and once consumed is gone forever.  Creativity is seeing 'abundance' - not in what is, but what is possible.  
     'Black Gold, Texas Tea' functions on many levels for me.  As an artist, it is an act of complete abandonment to pour black paint onto a canvas and then hang it in a museum for everyone to see.  To critique it is almost child's play.  It is almost nothing.  Many people would argue it is insulting.  As an artist who has drawn since my first waking memory, I can tell you that much of my ego is 'invested' in the art of drawing and painting.  To put all of that aside to follow an idea is a direct challenge to my ego.  That is one level on which this painting functions, the process level.  On another level, it is symbolic of oil.  The whole world is consumed by its quest for oil.  It is considered something that must be fought for, protected and many, many can't even begin to consider a world without it.  We are so consumed with the idea that one day we won't have it, that today we live in fear and aggression towards others over it.  Here begins the 'double' symbol - but inverted.  I give up my drawing to create a black square to symbolize something that we cannot conceive of giving up.  Becoming free is paradoxically an internal process of giving up our grip on that which we fear losing.  The 'ultimate battle' is not exterior.  It is not on some continent fighting for some arid bit of land.  The 'ultimate battle' is interior.  It is an awakening to the 'creative' mind that looks at the world around it, seeing infinite potential.  The awakened, creative mind knows no scarcity.  The fear-ridden survival mind, asleep to itself, knows only scarcity.    


At June 30, 2009 at 9:27 AM , Blogger Lynda Lehmann said...

Excellent post!


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