April 30, 2021 Weekly Musings

Christine Alfery

Posted on April 30 2021

April 30, 2021 Weekly Musings


"Red Dress" accepted in the 2021 National Fine Art Show

Posted on April 26 2021

Red Dress" has been accepted to exhibit at Lincoln Gallery for the 2021 National Fine Art Show. Lincoln Gallery is located in Loveland CO.

Opening Reception will be held Saturday, May 8, 2021 at 6:00pm. The reception will also broadcast on Facebook and our gallery web site so that all artists, their friends, their families and everyone else who just happens to be surfing the net will be able to see all of the accepted art as it is hung in the gallery and witness the actual juror’s announcement of the winning entries and her comments.

May 8-28, 2021

Lincoln Gallery
429 North Lincoln Avenue
Loveland, CO


Stealing Art Part 1 

Posted on April 26 2021

Water media painting, The Jester by Christine Alfery

Featured image: The Jester

How was the concept of art was stolen?

How do we think about art? What are some of the ideas and concepts we, those of us in the arts, have created surrounding a work that we identify as “art?”

Ideas and concepts are words. Words we use to communicate with others. Generally, we agree on how a word is understood. That's not happened with the concept or idea of art. The concept of art has illuded definition for a long time. The question of "what art is," – is still alive today.

When they talk about what art is and what art is not, there are many that link how art is understood with whether it is "good art" or "bad art." When this happens, I question how groups, or individuals understand the concept of “art.” I love studying words and their social and political powers.

I love studying what power they have over the artist and the work that is being labeled as art. I ask myself, "Which is more powerful in a work of art? Is it the power of the social and political agenda and who benefits from this work, the very concept of art, or the artist, or the social and political agenda?"

I have always thought of art existing within a power zone all of its own simply because of the criteria that I place on the concept of art and how it should be understood. I have frequently talked about the elements as to what constitute the concept of “art.” They include: creativity (the most powerful element within the concept of art), uniqueness, one-of-a-kindness, originality and freedom. Has the artist put themselves in the work? If they have, then, how do they understand self? What is their notion of self? Is their notion of self, or soul or individuality powered by another’s concept of self and what the self should be?

Stealing Art Part 

Posted on April 27 2021

Featured image: Daisies, Daffodils and Spring

Western culture is, for the most part, linked to the concept of humanism. The concept of humanism is hidden within other concepts and words. It overpowers other words. The concept of art is no exception.

I would like to call myself a humanist. When I look the word up online, the word humanist, or humanism is defined as:

any system or mode of thought or action in which human interests, values, and dignity predominate. Devotion to or study of the humanities. (sometimes initial capital letter) the studies, principles, or culture of the humanists.

As a humanist, I used to believe that my concept of self/soul, my concept of the individual, my concept of how I think, my consciousness, and my basic freedom were sovereign concepts. What do I mean by that?

Again referring to the sovereign power of, self, our minds, our individuality, and our basic freedom I offer a simple online dictionary explanation of what sovereign means:

Definition of sovereign 1a: superlative in quality b: of the most exalted kind : SUPREME sovereign virtue c: having generalized curative powers a sovereign remedy d: of an unqualified nature : UNMITIGATED sovereign contempt e: having undisputed ascendancy : PARAMOUNT 2a: possessed of supreme powers sovereign ruler b: unlimited in extent : ABSOLUTE c: enjoying autonomy : INDEPENDENT sovereign states 3: relating to, characteristic of, or befitting a supreme ruler : ROYAL a sovereign right

When it comes to self and the artist as self, I used to believe as humanists believed, that if I serve others, help others and share with other artists, that we would all be free to express our personal beings and self. We all would have our own power, accountable to nothing else. That is no longer the case when it comes to self in the arts. Free sovereign space does not exist. It has been overpowered by the humanist agenda. In turn, this humanist agenda controls our understanding of self as artist or just self as self. It’s not that we shouldn’t help others, we should. But, it is about how we help others and how we understand how others might be controlling us and stealing all our power for themselves.

Humanistic controls have stolen what art is. Art is no longer in the service of the self, the artist's soul. Art no longer has its most powerful elements, self and creativity. Rather, the self or soul is subject to the higher powers. The discipline of humanism as created: a socialistic higher power, or the higher power of a God, the mind and how we think, is controlled by what has been defined as the higher power of truth. The individual is being controlled by the higher powers of nature and more prominent social demands. Lastly, our basic freedom is subject to the higher power of the outside world and what is good or best for the outside world as a whole.

My concern again is how humanism's power overpowers the self within the arts. And, how “art” and “artist” are defined by humanism and not by the individual’s sovereign self.

By giving away our sovereign selves to humanism we have lost our freedom and ability to choose and to express ourselves and have our voices heard. We are rather herded into that very grey area in the middle that has taken two extreme ends of the spectrum, polarized them and herded us all into that grey area.

Some call this grey area, a place where we can all get along. The only way we can all get along as it is described, is to give up our subjectivity our sovereignty.

I think there is another way, and this way can be found in the arts. I don’t believe we need to give up our subjectivity our sovereignty. The first step is to think and question everything you are told. It is the most difficult step because it is so much easier to let another think for you. But when you do that, you lose yourself.

Aesthetic Moment: Pines Filled With Bling

Posted on April 28 2021

Water media painting, Singing In The Rain by Christine Alfery

Featured image: Singing in the Rain

It rained last night
Pines filled with bling
Birds chirp
Above white travels quickly
Blue sky
Sun rises

Aesthetic Moment: Bling

Posted on April 29 2021

Water media painting, Tall Grasses by Christine Alfery

Featured image: Tall Grasses

Yesterday there were BLING-Y trees
Today there is BLING-IE grass
Too beautiful
Too funny to think of the beautiful water crystals in the grass as BLING
21st century I guess.

Stealing Art Part 3

Posted on April 29 2021

Water media painting, Fishing Nets by Christine Alfery

Featured image: Fishing Nets

I frequently search for a hidden agenda of humanism within the concepts that make up how art is understood. I frequently search for some form of political or social power that controls the work and the work that is controlled by "other" power. If I find it, then I don’t call the work art because this "other" power takes away from the power that has always been in the concept of art for as long as I have known it. Frequently, the question that needs to be asked is what is being left out here? Especially, because it makes me feel so good.

As I have frequently said, if we do not do our due diligence surrounding the concept of art then someone else will, and how we know art and understand art will never go back to its own sovereignty. This is happening when we say, "Art can be anything and everything." As a former art educator, I know and have heard other art educators teach this very concept that art can be anything you wish it to be. This statement can be linked to the once held notion that there was a freedom associated with the concept of art where, the self, the soul, the individuality could be expressed freely within the work. And within current educational systems and curriculums, it's the only place where individuals can find this wonderful space to have their voice heard. The concept of self in the arts has been stolen by the more overpowering concept of humanism.

Historically, I watched this spread of humanism take over how the concept of “art” is understood. Slowly this spread has taken over how the artist thinks or does not think. The use of one's own mind, one's creative mind gets smaller and smaller.

The example I want to use to illustrate this is the use of the word, "competition," used in a sentence recently by someone talking about an exhibition that I have artwork in. The person said, “And most importantly, none of the work in this exhibition, none of the artists within this exhibition compete with each other.” This person was speaking for themselves. What did they mean by this statement? How did they understand the concept of “art” that allowed them to make that statement? My guess is art can be anything and everything and therefore does not compete.

The idea that artwork does not compete with other artwork is exactly a phrase I think of when I think of the stealing of the concept of “art.” Not everything that is made is art. Art needs to be different, unique, one-of-a-kind, sovereign. If anything and everything can be called art, then of course nothing competes. Then, there really is no art. The value of art comes with the notion of creation and to create. And no, not everything that a person creates is an artwork.

I have, in the past, defined how I understand the work creation, or to create, when it comes to art and understanding what art is: It is the ability to rearrange the combinations of natural elements. It is the only power an “artist” and an “art – work” has. Because the individual who achieves something creative has put themselves into the work. They have rethought how to think about something and presented it in a fresh and different way. That makes their work unique and not imitation.

The middle is not grey – or I could say the middle should not be blue. I refer to the terms "red pill" and "blue pill" as a choice between the willingness to learn a potentially unsettling or life-changing truth, by taking the red pill, and remaining in content ignorance with the blue pill. 1999 film, The Matrix.

Well, how can “art” be defined then? I prefer to think of “art” as having a choice and the choice is not to remain ignorant to difference. Difference does not mean we all meld into one melting pot of grey. Difference means respect and honor of another and talking about difference not as competitive but simply as difference. Personally, I think a better word could have been used for these reasons. But the biggest reason is, if art can be and is anything and everything, then art will be a prisoner and never have a soul of its own again.

The “red” middle is filled with artists who are different and difference is not defined through the loss of the sovereign self. The moral, ethical code for those in the middle should have nothing to do with humanism. It should have to do with the individual, the individual self. The middle will be just fine if we follow the simple golden rule that has been around for a long time –

Do unto others as you would have them do unto yourself.

More Posts