Wednesday, September 28, 2005

20th century art and philosophy


here is the ancient floor

In the English-speaking world the great majority of books that have been published in philosophy in the twentieth century are like academic paintings: they show unmistakable talent and are professionally competent, the result of long processes of learning, application and work; everything in them is accurate, in its right place, and as it should be; but it makes not the slightest difference whether they exist or not.

Bryan Magee
--Confessions of a Philosopher

After reading this little gem, all I can say is, "Thank God it's the 21st century now!"

14 Comments:

Blogger carla said...

Hmmmm...I'm actually without a response to that comment. We were talking about Maslow's hierarchy of needs in class today, and the students were very fascinated by the idea of self- actualization. They were pretty glib, in fact, thinking that it would be as simple to reach as maybe graduating college or something. I suppose that's part of what''s special about youth...having little idea of how puzzling life can be. Well, I suppose it wouldn't make a difference if all the philosophy books disappeared because people being what they are would simply write some more. It's a natural part of our struggle to make sense of our existence.

But your painting...how do I love it? ...let me count the ways! These colors are so warm and rich, the textures and patterns are varied and really fill the canvas like a tapestry, the cross section of the landscape shows the cycle of life in such a natural and non-threatening way. This is so beautiful, Andrea. Is it recent?

28/9/05 10:08 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Did you mention to your students that some people, even with all the education and advantages, never reach the level of self-actualization? :)

Thanks for the kind words on the painting. This is one of four paintings I just dropped off for an invitational show (at the Federation Gallery in Vancouver)for artists who work in series. I just varnished it yesterday and strung up the wire today!

28/9/05 2:12 PM  
Blogger kan said...

Beautiful color. It is even better once you click on it and enlarge it.

What size is this work? Why did you varnish it...to protect it?
Thanks for enlightening me....<: -)

28/9/05 5:15 PM  
Blogger carla said...

Andrea, the whole self-actualization thing actually led into a discussion with 15 year olds about the concept of midlife crisis! I explained to them that self actualization is elusive because many of us don't really learn who we are to fulfill that, and even if we do know who we are, there are often many barriers that make the journey difficult. It was a very active discussion, the kind I thoroughly enjoy!

I do thoroughly admire this painting...is this show an exhibit or is is a sale?

28/9/05 5:19 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

JNP: This painting is 24" x 20" x 1.5". I continue the images around the side of the gallery-wrapped stretchers. I do that because (a) it suits the style in which I work and (b) then I don't have to frame the sucker! :) I varnish it for both practical (protection) and aesthetic (even, all-over glow) purposes.

Carla: I wish you were my teacher! I'm sure that if Andy reads your comment he'll have a thing or two to say...

I am a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists: we have hundreds of members and a commercial gallery space where we exhibit our work, so it's an exhibition (most FCA exhibitons are juried) but the paintings are for sale with a slightly lower-than-commercial-gallery percentage going into the FCA coffers.

28/9/05 6:02 PM  
Blogger ChittyChittyBangBang! said...

I don't quite know what to think of the esteemed Mr. Magee's "little gem", as you so rightly put it.
I am by no means a philospher, but I echo your sentiment, "Thank God it is the 21st century now!"

29/9/05 7:13 AM  
Blogger kyknoord said...

I think Bryan was fishing for compliments there. He was probably hoping everyone would say, "How true, how true - but of course it doesn't apply to your work, Mr Magee and you're so much better than that Gaarder hack".
I really like the trilobites, by the way.

29/9/05 7:30 AM  
Blogger andy said...

Andrea/Carla: How could I ignore such an invitation - a thing or two? Most of two years blogging, pretty much! :-) And still no nearer any answers, although on a good day I think I might be getting better at asking the questions. Perhaps. But then there are the bad days to contend with also.

But your one-line summary of the elusiveness of self-actualisation has to be as succinct as anything I've read on the subject, Carla. Ol' Abe was a smart guy - even though his idea apparently has no theoretical basis, you instinctively know he's right. It's issues in those lower levels that keep pulling us back from the summit. Annoying little things like mortgages, empty relationships etc etc...

29/9/05 12:45 PM  
Blogger Aaron Paquette said...

This is great work! I've just stumbled onto your blog and will definitely be bookmarking it.

29/9/05 6:04 PM  
Blogger The Whippy Curly Tails said...

Hi...the Nick Hornby book...it's good, but not a traditional read I loved it. Happy ending.

Great info on how your varnish your work...thanks. I love this one!

29/9/05 8:38 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

Impressed as always. This is good stuff.

30/9/05 6:02 AM  
Anonymous scott said...

While Bryan Magee's comment may have some truth to it, I think it is sort of cynical. It's like saying everything is just a repetition of something else. I believe that we can discover fresh ideas and concepts all the time, and that we can interpret old ones in new ways, too. One can decide to be cynical, but does that make one happy? (I hate using 'one'- I just didn't want to sound too accusatory). You have a great blog- very thought-provoking.

1/10/05 11:26 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Yay Scott! My first reacton was to poke holes in his statement as well, but not having anything interesting to say to refute it, I was hoping someone else would both refute it and present a good argument. Thank you.

2/10/05 6:58 AM  
Blogger Ian T. said...

Those philosophers - it's just all existentialist angst with those guys!

6/10/05 1:15 AM  

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