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Comment and Answer : The Truth of the Painter

December 9th, 2010

Anne says :

The truth, where is it? The truth what is it ?
Large question indeed.
Is not the truth subjective ?
Physically, it depends upon the point of view.
For exemple, Is a photography a true representation of reality? It is rather the vision of it that the photographer has wanted to give by not putting into it the garbage which is just outside the shot. The notion of in the field of vision / outside the field is already an interpretation witting or unwitting of the “Truth”.
Psychologically, the truth is even more subjective ?
Two persons will live a given situation in two very different ways. And however this experience is one (in the meaning unique) and therefore it has a priori only one truth. This makes me think about factual truth. After all a fact is a fact, unquestionable, confirmed.
But though, in history, the historical thought based upon real facts is in constant evolution. In science, the verity of to day will not be the truth of to morrow.! The discovery of a new “scientifical truth” will shake the truth.
I think we need to ask ourselves the question of the truth that we accept: our own truth, the one of our family, of our kin, of our colleague, of our culture, of our time. And for art, with my poor knowledge in this area, I think that the essential is that the artist respects hi truth, his own truth in the instant he is creating ( so “be true towards yourself”).
I agree with Corot about the truth of the first impression.
We finally come back most of the time to our first impression about people, about the landscape, about the content of our plate (here visual), about our future housing, about our work, about the work what we are looking at.

Denis responds :

Thank you Anne for your thoughtful remarks.

Here is the bottom line for me, I believe that what we see and what we think about that experience is important. We arrive at an understanding of what the words we use to describe and explain things represent. When they arrive at the point of becoming abstractions we can then get those words into perspective. In this context, it is not the things we know that create problems for us … it is the things we know that are not so. A poor grasp of abstract thought or abstract words compounds those problems. (I’ll write more about this probblem in a future article.) Art is largely about a good grasp of the tradition of painting and problem solving, not the pursuit of abstractions such as our common understanding of the word truth.

As you see, Anne, I am short on answers, long on questions. I trust that my studies and intuition lead me to good ones. This, I believe is the path of a painter.

Ciao, Denis,

Published in french as Commentaire et réponse sur “La vérité du peintre”

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