Painting Blog > Artist-Art > Artistic Vision

Artistic Vision

Originally posted on October, 3, 2008

It no doubt sounds a bit mundane to talk today about artistic vision. World events dictate the need for something much more utilitarian. It seems, however, that for a good long while moralistic political economic concerns have contained the limits of dialogue. And within those limits we move from one crisis or war to the next. It has been said that without a vision people perish. How true. Moving through life from one goal to the next is in fact crisis management. It is not the full engagement of life.

Moralistic dribble? I think not. Ever since Louis Phillip’s “juste milieu”? the vast majority of the art community has moved from one zeitgeist to the next: a never ending parade of progress. The goal always remains the same: to find the next big improvement. Meanwhile artistic vision becomes dimmer and dimmer. It has become a faint flicker.

In spite of all our modern sophistication, the way we think is fundamentally visual. With all of the information we have literally at our fingertips photographic images remain a strong tool of manipulation and control (see Suzan Sontag’s “On photography”). Someone said (I think it was Moholy-Nagy) that the illiterate of the future will be ignorant of the camera and pencil alike. This was said maybe 70 years ago. Today it is absolutely imperative that we begin to understand the ethics and the grammar of photographic images. Suzan Sontag called for an ecology of images. We need to react to this pollution long before we react to an economic crisis. Until we as a people get this right we will continue down the same road.

If one begins to get a good feel for what artistic vision is about it helps in understanding photographic ethics and grammar. In fact, there is no other way to approach it. The artist has always wanted to play a part in contemporary society: to be of his time. By the same token a piece of him or her lives in the eternal: the artistic vision side. How else he has been able through the ages to go up to his garret and starve for the sake of it. Long live to the artist in all of us.

Published in french as Vision artistique

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