Objectivism Part IV
Posted on February 18 2021
Featured image: Valentine
I believe an artist needs to question, to challenge their work, and to ask themselves, “Has my work become objectified?”
If I were to summarize my personal thinking into a nutshell, I would say:
1. Metaphysics. How do I determine my reality? Is my reality like that of the velveteen rabbits, subjective? Or, is my reality more objective? My reality leans more on the objective side. But, my reality is not an “either / or situation” in which I have to choose one over the other. It is both. Both, as I have said before many times, are needed to create a difference. And, with those differences, there needs to be balance.
2. My epistemology. How do I know things? What is the difference between belief and opinion? How do I reason? I know, I believe because of science that a tree that grows straight in the woods is more likely to fall in the wind than a tree that has grown crooked. The straight tree has very little resistance when winds happen, but the crooked tree has a lot of variables that help it move with the wind rather than become a wall trying to stop it. That statement is based on “opinion”. Opinions are based on reasonable and factual evidence. This statement is not based on “belief” or personal faith, which can be cultural values and morals.
My epistemology is more “opinion” based than “belief” based. Yet, again , I don’t believe that epistemology can be just my way or the highway . The answer to what is my epistemology is in the two words, opinion and balance. Both are needed to form differences.
3. My ethics, my morality, my values. These are my moral principles that govern my behavior. Because I am an objectivist, I know there is a difference between an object and objectivism. For example, art is an object of the market culture, or a woman becomes an object that satisfies a man. But, as I explained above, to be an objectivist is opinion based, to have morals and values that are based on our knowledge of “things.” And, these things are based on reason.
I will use two examples to make my point of what my ethics would be. One is to be a woman and not be an object for something else. And the other example is similar. To be an abstract artist is not based on objects, or object culture, like, something to put on your wall to match the colors in the rest of the room. Instead, to be an abstract artist is based on abstract ideas, thinking, and concepts, fresh concepts and ideas, which is why they are abstract, becoming, well, becoming real. Being an artist, any kind of artist, requires more than a dab of red paint on a canvas or piece of paper. Object art requires collective thinking.. Object art requires perfect design, and matching, and object culture art is always trending, stylish. Art, because it is a thing in itself, speaks for itself. It is unique and one of a kind. If it in itself can’t claim that identity, then it is not art.
My ethics always focus on the individual first. Once the individual is established, then they can go out and help others. In essence, object culture is group thinking, more of a social concept about fitting in. An object that wants to be art, and not part of a particular culture will always be unique and artists who create such work need to place the one over the many as they are creating and making art.
4. My politics. Do I choose one side over the other? This one is so simple, of course not. There is a difference. There I am in the multicolored, technical colored middle where balance and uniqueness are respected. There is only one political group I would ever be able to belong to. That one is to be an independent, to not become the object of another’s ideas for me and for who I am. I believe in helping others, but I also believe that others need to help themselves. We all do. To interfere with that process of finding the “self” is always a mistake. We only need to try it, which I have with our kids, to know it just doesn’t work. Never has.
So, is my work objectified? The answer is – yes and no. I know about myself enough to know that I am never happier than when it becomes objectified. It is just something that comes over me every time. Like the work I just finished that has about 20 layers of paint on it, and the 300# paper now feels like leather. I just didn’t want to give up. I wanted to free myself of techniques that have become too familiar to me and find a new path. I’m not there yet, as it is a never-ending journey, but I am still traveling on that aesthetic, technicolor path. Ok, this piece isn’t in technicolor, but hopefully you know what I mean by now. Perhaps, this piece will represent in my history, the journey to a more peaceful space of white light where all colors can be mixed. White light is a combination of all colors in the entire color spectrum. It has all the colors of the rainbow. Can you see them?