Emergent Landscapes

Ridgeline oil, acrylic, graphite, soil, plaster on wood (12"x48") J Mason
Ridgeline
oil, acrylic, graphite, soil, plaster on wood
(12″x48″)
J Mason

The world is constituted by continuous change: dynamic features are primary and the assemblies of static entities are the derivatives. For the artist who perceives and encounters what may look like objects and subjects (or any number of different entities) such things are always in a process of becoming. All objects, composed of matter, are equally composed of energy. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed; only transformed if not transferred. This transformation is what we presume through our minute perspective to be composed of static objects. The painter is doing the work that explicates the relation between objects in the world, between mind and nature, between values and actions, between the dynamic processes distilled into static being as a condition of spatio-temporal existence. The painter’s existence consists of an assembly organic, physical, social and cognitive processes interacting across a dynamic field. Painting that focuses on processes arrives at a condition where the painter does not deny the temporally stable; rather, it is that stability persists as ontologically secondary to the recurrent aspect of becoming.

The essential element of being is that it is continually ongoing in its self-differentiation: the painter envisions the processual aspects (of nature, action, cognition, etc.) as the essential feature of the real. As a method of painting the conception sets up a speculative matter suggesting becoming as the essential aspect of creativity.

Landscape Art in the traditional sense is an impossibility today: the existence of things simply doesn’t suggest a work of static entities laid upon a grid surveyed by an immobile or fixed gaze. Currently the notion of landscape drastically shifts and the painter looks towards contemporary quantum physics as producing a theory of landscape. The old presuppositions of Landscape Art suggests that entities are individuated, but as quantum physics tell us if spacetime is emergent then metaphysics cannot operate with entities that are individuated in terms of their spacetime location.1 Events like quantum entanglement suggests a world of ontic emergence. Interpretations of the field do not exist independently from the measurements performed: the correlations are properties of interactions, not of substance. The implications of these interactions are felt in art dissolving the boundaries between stable entities. The seer is part of the field and not a separated or disembodied eye.

Emergence (also so integral also to the features of evolution) are developed in painting through exploring the possibilities of ‘self-organizing’ matter. What can the object do when the painter sets up the parameters for the flow? The ‘landscape’ beyond Landscape Art is the result of casuality of the elements: emergent landscapes are part of a wider field that is engendering itself. Every painter has really only ever had interest in a single affirmation: the capacity realized within the matter or medium, which is the matter-of-fact for the painter. To the painter the notion of being and becoming has always been, essentially, equal to that of the stabilities and processes which are of one event.

One of the most important advances of 20th century vanguard painting has been the interjection of ‘evocative painting’ as a possibility of art. The matter or the medium (hylē) became for its own sake a creative element; the pictorial means of imitative reproduction were replaced by evocative work. This advance suggests that through the passing moments of human existence become representations, states of mind become visible as an art as inscribing tablet: it creates a field swimming in forms for which any representations are reflections. So the matter became the platform for the emergence of the artist’s self, but also became something in its own as the matter-of-fact of painting.

Evocative painting is really a mode of procedure: if it presents a withdrawal of the world of visible objects (as illustrated) towards the development of abstract visual configurations, then it is because the procedure is lodged in an existence appropriate to magic. The object transforms into a remarkable thing, but it does not only grow from the ‘greater reality’ that Kandinsky spoke of, which grows out of the inner imagination and for which the work of art becomes the emanation of imagination, since the object is really a condensation or fossilization of processes entirely apart from the subject. Going beyond the matter as a platform for the expression of the painter’s self, the object is an expression of emergent matter. The object is not a strange, independent other, as if only ever a tap-in to the unconscious realms of the imagination floating on the surface (and for which the ideals of the inner experience of the world is projected onto the reality of existence); the poetic mediation wonderfully enriches art to bring about another world embodying a poetry of nature, accentuating the accent of the self into the thing but equally the object’s own expressional capacities, which resides in the processual aspect of reality.

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