The Poetic Knowledge Represented by Art
Are we attracted to a piece of art because of how it looks–or where it takes us? Being transported somewhere unknown requires more than a cursory glance.
I was struck by this passage in an interview with Betsy Eby by Suzette McAvoy because it so clearly articulated the why of my practice and referenced my guiding influences as artists whose work represented this poetic knowledge of art. Rothko and Turner so clearly were motivated to express that space of entry to the sublime.
“Relying on a poetic mood to ease us out of our everyday, practical concern with common-sense reality, some works lie beyond the world of appearances and encourage us to access the world of spirit. Moving in the direction of ascension–from the quotidian to the transcendent–following a long line of artists, from J.M.W. Turner to Mark Rothko, the goal is to create an existential opening in our understanding of life. If, as many great thinkers have posited, art is indeed one of the symbolic languages encoded in the human brain that provides an ever-changing dialogue with our evolving understanding of our place in the universe, the poetic knowledge represented by art is one of several phenomenological approaches we use to understand who we are, where we are, and what those questions might possibly mean.”