Landscape & Memory

Fons Sapientae
Fons Sapientae – oil on wood 4’x4′ – JM

The paintings aren’t re-presentations of an outer world; they are attuned to the notion of an inward landscape. Paintings first emerge in a blind striving that gratifies instinct. Paintings are marks that often come about on their own, and in the task of presenting the painter is the intervening conduit for co-coordinating and composing of the impulses in order to redeem the instinct from its oblivion.

Landscapes don’t exist in wild nature. Landscapes are cultural formations: they cut through by the framing gaze. The mind consists of memories – there is a past by which one measures the future. Such is thought based on what has already occurred, which is then measured into an undetermined to-be. Memories and landscapes are wholly connected. Landscapes are memories etched into the mesh of nature. The ‘landscape’ of painting is the concern of observing, taking and preserving a perspective on reality that is otherwise the processes of unconscious force. The same goes for thought.

The sincerity of instinct helps to translate the painter’s sensations of the world, but all vision is supposition and the marks only ever suggestions. The paintings are attuned to what is exterior to them (the formative and generative processes of matter) but they equally emerge from the formative effects of the mirror (the mirror to the subjective). What is reflected in the mirror is the being-there that designates itself through the material — the painter is one who, in making themselves known to themselves through creation of an object, injects the virtuality of consciousness into material artifact.

Consciousness renders objects but always ephemeral, and in the end essentially not graspable. One can learn a lot from that place where water meets landscape: the water keeps coming and coming: waves repeat endlessly without ever repeating themselves. And meanwhile, the painter only knows appearances and he looks at landscape and thinks, ‘beauty.’ – But this is only the rest of beauty.

 

 

– JM
First published in 2013 to coincide with an art exhibition of the same name at ARS Gallery, Benton Harbor MI.

 

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