Makoto Fujimura is a visual artist that I've been following the last couple years. Not only do I admire his stunning work but also adore his writings and thoughts on art and faith.
This post is a reflection of one of his writings titled "Art, Love and Beauty: On Art, lecture 1". In it he tackled the ominous question "what is art?"
"Art is a faithful way of knowing the world. In this way, art and sciences share our journey toward knowledge. Science recognizes the boundary of the closed natural world, and then attempts to understand the mechanics of how things work. Art, in some specific ways, goes beyond those boundaries. When Carter Ratcliff notes that “art is inexhaustible,” I think he is referring to art's role in breaking open boundaries, a core of art experience that is truly generative. Art can substantiate the “invisible” realities, beyond what the data shows. But both art and science can begin with a commitment, and a faithful covenant, to knowledge. Therefore, both require an ontological base of faith as the starting point of this journey."
I love this because it focuses on the tangible and intangible. I find myself needing to attempt to describe the tension, marriage, and relationship of both. I find much of the art I see in galleries and museums is restrained within either boundaries of our world or within ourselves. And I find much of the focus in the art market and academia is resigned within the stifling cell walls of money, showmanship and ego.
Fujimura says,"If we are going to ask it at all, I suggest we need to ask it from a more human perspective. We need to link “what is art” to the greater question of “what is life?” And for such deep inquiry, we have to be willing to suspend our 'lust for certainty' (Bruce Herman) and be on a faith journey toward a mystery of our being. "
For me, the art I love has an illusive quality, an distinct lack of certainty, and a touch of etherial and concrete. It mimics nature but also nods toward 'the mystery of our being.' And this, I believe takes a long time to be able to do. And it requires both patience and tenacity. You can see some of these things described in Fujimura's work. I love the way he describes his process: "in my studio, I stalk. Or better, I wait. I wait for my art to show its face above the murky waters of the art world, my own assumptions and my own ego. "
Being able to step outside of our own self imposed cell of certainty and anxiety is a very tall order. I hope that I will be able to keep the question "what is life" more at the forefront as I'm wading waste hight in the creative process in which also swirls the concrete of bills, fear, ambition and pride. I hope I find the boldness to wait and let the mystery of our being rise above the immediate and find realities beyond just what data shows.
You cand find Fujimura's full article here and he speak of these things much better than I: http://www.makotofujimura.com/writings/art-love-and-beauty-on-art-lecture-1/.
Posted by Joanna