how i use the i ching in my art - link
what makes a work of art authentic? enabling it to possess our deepest feelings - even though at first, and maybe for a long time, we were only curious about it and unable to make a true connection - perhaps caught up in our conditioned, busy thoughts about it and how it fit into the art scene and what it meant - but at some point we may have caught sight of it as a presence and our experience changed radically - from interest on a mental level to being gripped by its mysterious power - the power to connect us to the center of our being, our consciousness, to a universal communion with our fellow beings and the world -
it's impossible to translate the source of this presence into words - what components of the artwork combine to create it? does the artist have to be a genius, with a huge talent, intellect, schooling, a master of the medium? too often the artist may have all these qualities and be considered a genius by the public but is unable to produce works of presence - in fact if the artist becomes proud of being a genius the mysterious connection that allows presence to enter the art may be lost - it requires a grateful spirit of humility and a commitment to service to attain this connection - in these moments of enlightenment the artist is a channel for forces that create on a higher level than otherwise possible - and this enlightenment shines out of the work as presence or quality - producing in us a state of enlightenment, if only for a moment, and freeing our obsessive identification with the story in our heads we believe is reality - this is why authentic art is of such value to the world - not because of aesthetics or history or being radically different, but because of its power to transform us -
inauthentic art has the opposite effect - re-enforcing our identification with our false ideas of who we are - all the thoughts that our ego thrives on - that swell our self-importance and celebrate our specialness and separation from others - this pseudo-art prides itself on how clever it is - how 'cutting edge' -and on its 'brand name' that provides an identity-enhancer for those who buy it - to do this it must be expensive so others can't afford it, and therefore is 'exclusive' - a product of our materialistic age and our new academy of the shallow - that have dictated that presence and quality are now unacceptable words for contemporary art - this is because authentic art exposes pseudo-art as a pretentious sham - enlightenment dissolves the false self like water did the wicked witch -
to achieve authenticity the creative process must be conducted within the realm of spirit and without recourse to control - when 'in the zone' the artist (in any field, including sports, etc) must avoid distractions or attempts to force the result toward any desired result - the artist must avoid making judgments and accept unconditionally what is produced - even after the work is finished the artist must remain a humble 'bystander' seeking to understand what has been produced - this understanding may take a long time and requires continuance of humility until a breakthrough arrives - impatience results in the artist becoming judgmental, interfering with the creation and degrading it - authentic creations may be so 'far out', even to their creator, that patience is necessary - for the creator as well as the viewer - avoid consideration of how the work fits into one's previous output - authentic art has no marketing strategy involved in its creation -
ted knerr, © april 2008
I've gradually arrived at the belief that the images given to me in my art embody states of being. They are representatives of a world where body, mind and spirit are one entity. They are sometimes difficult to get, but I'm rewarded when I return quietly and openly to invite their radiance to flow through me.
To quote Rumi, "Do you think I know what I am doing? . . . As much as a pen knows what it is writing". I'm an instrument in the hand of cosmic forces. I try to minimize my own control over my art to allow transcendent concepts to find expression. I open up the window of creative energy by letting artistic determinations be made outside my conscious direction. This service to the world gives me happiness, focus, clarity and peace. I am filled with a reverence for the universe and every person in it. The full-spectrum color and variety of styles in my work is an expression of the equal value of each individual.
Abstract art allows me to enter more surely into a field of energy which is a spiritual arena. Kandinski and Mondrian were drawn to abstraction to express their spirit more fully than traditional art encourages. By avoiding pictures of things and the stories that inevitably grow out of them, spirit may be directly embodied in art, not added to what is mainly a narrative. Instead of illustrating spiritual ideas they made art that, in itself, is a direct manifestation of spiritual energy; clear, splendid and joyous.
Our culture values material things. The public tends to be impatient with abstract art and prefers to sit back and be amused and distracted, not challenged. Young children, less indoctrinated by society, often understand art when adults don't. They feel its energy directly without prejudging it or intellectualizing about it. They sense people's energies in the same way.
In the new millennium we are experiencing a spiritual revolution. Most people are not aware of this and ignore the evidence all around them. The collapse of dictatorships, the growth of democracy, peace on a global scale if not yet everywhere, increased sensitivity to our problems of the ecology, a gradual ebbing of intolerance, a growing awareness that our health is our personal responsibility and an increased recognition that we need to accept responsibility for our own spiritual lives.
I am a part of this spiritual revolution, as we all are. I am a transmitter of visual/poetic energy through my painting. I feel an obligation to help these images move on into the world where they will be seen and may find acceptance by those ready to 'hear' their music.
Years ago in a period of difficulty I began using the I Ching, the Chinese book of changes, and have followed its spiritual advice since in my life and art. Many works are thoroughly guided by it and rise to levels I have not achieved alone.
In 1978 a new form appeared in my paintings representing a particular life-force and called the 'eef' for its combination of E and F forms. Surrounding it is a field of energy that infuses it with influences. The flow of energy goes both ways. The summation of every individual life-force in the universe results in the formation of this field. This interrelation of the eef form and the field, mutually interactive, formed the central theme of my work. My work became a concrete, vivid celebration of our complex universe, expressing the idea that each of us is connected to the universal field and, through it, to each other.
In January 2000 in print P10, white areas began to open the space and lighten the atmosphere. On an intermittent basis the whites continued to grow and began to break up the outer rectangle of the picture plane so the white space outside entered and flowed through the image area. The white became a larger field for the image to operate in. Metaphorically more 'universal' than previously. I broke out of 'the box' and got a wider perspective. Instead of feeling an inhabitant of the box, the viewer is suddenly rocketed to a place where the box is seen as one world among many. Like looking back at the Earth from space, one has new thoughts about it. It's sort of like finding oneself as 'the observer' who can look at one's 'personality' in meditation, and so find that what one has identified so completely with is not the real me, or at least not the whole me.
In this new, open space, objects began to take on more individual shapes since they are no longer pressed against one another like cells in a honeycomb. And they become clearly seen as separate from the background. The whole concept of the eef and the field seems to have transmuted into a new concept that I have now no clear description of. The eef is disappearing, despite my wanting to hang onto it (because of my identification with it and out of nostalgia too I guess). But I do know that I have gone through a major transformation this year. For at least nine months now I have been able to sustain a higher state of being that before was only occasional. Any slipping back into my old self is immediately noticed by my observer and I take steps to raise my sights. I know any unhappiness is coming from inside, not from anyone or anything outside. Since I have no denial about this, I can deal with the real problem and resolve it quickly in a few hours.
Ted Knerr, © 2000 - 2002
1 ..... site philosophy
2 ..... artist's statement
3 ..... politics
4...... the holocaust and columbine
6...... animal allies - free game
8.......nancy - a memorial for my sister
9...... sam averiett - a homeless man in new york city
10.... memorial for my father
11.... memorial for my mother
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