In his new book, A New Earth
, Eckhart Tolle
(author of The Power of Now
, a long time favorite of mine) writes about transcending habitual thought processes, which arise from the ego, in order to develop more awareness of a larger and more expansive reality. In an early chapter he describes how labeling and categorizing everything around us tends to deaden and limit our perceptions.
The quicker you are in attaching verbal or mental labels to things, people, or situations, the more shallow and lifeless your reality becomes, and the more deadened you become to reality, the miracle of life that continuously unfolds within you and around you. In this way, cleverness is gained but wisdom is lost, and so are joy, love, creativity and aliveness. They are concealed in the still gap between the perception and the interpretation. Of course we have to use words and thoughts. They have their own beauty--but do we need to become imprisoned in them?
There is much more--it is one of those rare books that as soon as I reached the end I went right back to begin again. This time through the above paragraph struck me in its application to viewing art, as well as to the inner processes that one experiences during creative flow. For me, his description of "the still gap between perception and interpretation" sums up so well the presence in a work of art that goes beyond words.
Abstraction is an approach that to a large extent sidesteps issues of labeling and easy interpretation. I think this is can be said of any work of art, from the abstract to the most realistic, due to the ways the artist manipulates various art elements and aspects of content. But abstraction, especially pure abstraction, is unique in requiring the viewer to venture away from identifying and categorizing, and to explore a different way of perceiving. Perhaps this is why abstraction since its beginnings has been identified with transcendent ideas and to some extent, spirituality. Early abstract painters such as Kandinsky and Mondrian made clear connections between their art and their spiritual ideas.
The photo above was shot yesterday just before Marina Broere
and I took down my exhibit at Polderland Gallery. I loved exhibiting in this quiet, contemplative space and hope that my work existed in some way in that "still gap."