Why go to museums & galleries?

art, art criticism, artforum, visual arts
Down at the Disco at Midnight, 106 x 96 cm, acrylic on wood.

Down at the Disco at Midnight, 106 x 96 cm, acrylic on wood.

I spent the last week in London. I visited several galleries in and around Albermarle, Cork, New/Old Bond Streets and I meandered through and across the following museums: Imperial War Museum, Tate Britain, Tate Modern, National Gallery, and the National Portrait Gallery.

Friday Night & MOnday Morning

Friday Night & Monday Morning, acrylic on wood, 106 x 96 cm, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014.

I also visited Somerset House to see Blondie, the Advent of Punk, featuring the photography of Chris Stein, and I paid fifteen pounds to see the Anselm Kiefer exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts.

Right from the start of my wanderings, I wondered and debated the question:

Why go to museums?

Every image is available via our smartphones and computers. It is all on the web and is accessible 24/7 without the least inconvenience. No bus, train, taxi to take. No braving the rain, snow, sleet, heat and smog, nor the crowds. And it doesn’t cost 15 pounds.

I went to the aforementioned museums and galleries because I love walking and it gave me a sense of purpose. I saw art that was interesting and art that was drivel, the equivalent of drip painting by anybody who is not Pollock.

Pool Hall, photography, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014.

Pool Hall, photography, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014.

Entre-nous, photography, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014.

Menage a Cinque, photography, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014.

Menage a Cinque, photography, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014

La Nuite des Maudits, photography, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014

abstract3

Self-portrait, photography, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014.

Of course, some art had me wondering why my own work was not on exhibit in any number of galleries, and since no answer was forthcoming, I concentrated less on my own work, and tried to understand and enjoy the work I was seeing.

I was not blown away. Kiefer’s work, but not all, was powerful, willingly dreary, German. Grand in scale, they filled the immense walls of the Academy and could not but impress.

And viewers or spectators gazed in silence or, at most, whispered commentary, which leads to my next question:

Why is everyone so quiet? It’s not like going to Church or the Synagogue, or is it?

Maybe anything we might say would sound trite, stupid, pretentious, misplaced, and few of us want to sound uneducated, especially after spending so much money on becoming schooled. (I dropped out of the Classics Programme at Concordia U, Montreal, so I qualify as seriously ignorant, and why, presumably, have no answers, why I appeal to you, reader, for commentary here or at my Facebook page.)

Everything in the museum is so sanctimonious: the guardians, custodians, standing around like altarboys and girls; the distance from the artwork itself that must be respectfully kept, the lighting, and there is even a scent to museums, but it is in our own animal behaviour, comportamento, as we approach and entry into the museum: we gape, we gaze, we hold our breath in anticipation of wonder and imminent revelation, describe sidelong glances to our mates, eyebrows arched, at being impressed, confused, understanding, bewildered.

Hands clasped at our backs,or arms folded, or grappling with the museum guide, the Bible, the alms book of daily prayer, we shuffle along from painting to sculpture to installation to paper works and artists books,in and out of rooms, and onto the next, until we emerge from the museum, purged of our own insignificance, enriched and empowered, members of a sect, a religion, a faith that sets us apart from those who do not go to exhibitions, do not go to  the opera, do not read Literature and History.

You stand apart from the hordes. Entrenched behind books, culture, art,  knowledge, sensibilities or sensitivities, Kultur, you believe you are safe from the boor who will deride the art that has so touched and moved you you cannot sleep.

When the huddled mass of ignorance, sweat and intellectual hogwash and stink laughs out loud to say: it’s bullshit!, you cringe, turn away, sneer, distance yourself as fast as it is discretely possible to do so without being noticed  because you know you don’t have a chance against the horde, or the crazed boor who insists Rothko is a fake.

“Okay, I got the two-tone bleak on bleak the first time, the second time, but a whole career spent painting the same painting is, yes, frankly beyond me, and b-o-r-i-n-g. And reading the  explanatory notes too hilarious. I mean, what are these guys on to write all that bullshit on a white hole of nothingness.”

(Better not mention the  white-on-whites by deKoonig, or the boor will never stop barking  like a hyena.)

To be honest, I wasn’t impressed by Kiefer’s pile of lead sheets, either; I had the same – no – similar pile when I tore out my bathroom last month, but context is vital, critiques and critics, too,  and an alchemical combination of good fortune, time, place, people, confidence, bravado, vision, arrogance, and talents.

Evidently, I lack most, if not all, of the above. And I probably abound in ignorance. I do what I do, paint, in the safety of my own grounds, oblivious to much, and ignored by all, grateful to the Muses and McFate for granting me this space and time to create, bring to fruition the odd mixture of components and elements of which I am composed.

It’s what I know, in short; that, and museums are full of gorgeous women and openings are great places for starting a conversation with smart, bright ladies.

Redhead at National Gallery

Redhead at National Gallery, acrylic on wood, 106 x 96 cm, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014.

P.S. You were dressed as above, with black-framed glasses, at the National Gallery, 11-19 November; me, Mr Miserable, bearded, thunderstruck:

In she walked

tight white shirt

grey skirt to the knees

bare legged

black stiletto heels

and glasses

red hair and a chignon

whitest skin

most perfect complexion

and a Mona Lisa smile

across the floor

in a long bare-legged stride

she walked to gaze

at a Renaissance nude

that she was

in the mirror.

P.S.S. The Abstracts in this post were produced before my trip to London, while the paintings were made on my return just days ago; the former were, however, side trips, excursions from what might be considered my style, ie Figurative Narrations, while the Others herein posted were painted on my return, the first being Down at the Disco at Midnight.

Now the next question is: what are the effects of going to galleries and museums on one’s own work? What is your experience?

Looking forward to your comments and replies.

Last Rebel, Inc.

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Last Rebel, Inc. ,Luigi Monteferrante, acrylic on wood, 106 x 96 cm.

Last Rebel, Inc. ,Luigi Monteferrante, acrylic on wood, 106 x 96 cm.

In my previous life as a poet, I wrote a poem entitled Heroes, the narrator asking where had they gone to, the punks, mods, hippies, rockers, disco dolls. And the like. The poem I transformed to song and it was improved because during the recording I improvised and ad-libbed a few rather inspired lines. The tone, or timbre, were also perfect – a denigrating sneer. My acoustic guitar-playing capacity amounted to nil, but the overall performance was satisfactory.

As for the painting,  we face this Colossus of a building, a Leviathan of a Corporation, and the man depicted has paused before reaching the large dark entrance door; whatever his choice, Last Rebel is the Corporation, the Brand, the Lifestyle. For one, rebellion has long been comodified: from rock & rock to rap, the money is in the merchandise, the collective experience, not the music. Secondly, the true rebels founded the company, laid the foundations to create the colossus, the monster’s appetite allayed by greed: more cash, larger market share, buying out or crushing competitors, the stuff of daily financial headlines.

Their stock in trade is rebellion against the status quo. Were everything fine and good, nothing would ever be improved, invented, changed. We take things for granted, are averse to change, enjoy our routines, are pleased to sit quietly after a day’s work watching TV, or reading a bestselling book, but these rebels, these upstart entrepreneurs don’t sit still. Not one second.  They are dreaming,  scheming, schmoozing,   toying with ideas, gizmos, conventional thinking so as to find a way to get you to dig into your pockets to buy that product or service which you don’t really need.

Open your cupboards – full. Closet? Packed. Desk? Cluttered with PCs, pen drives, flash cards, DVDs – remember those? And we won’t even go into the garage or attic where we have boxes and crates of video and audio cassettes, old skis, skates, roller blades, city bikes and mountain bikes, and a whole lot more.

Quite frankly, I have been fooled into buying stuff I don’t need, but I can safely say I have a lot less junk than most people. And I will include books too, just to assure you I won’t distinguish between high and low culture, hi- and lo-tech.

Last Rebel is making itself richer, me poorer, and the more we buy, the higher they rise in social status, the greater their economic power, while ours diminishes day after day. Pardon me – mine does.  And plenty of people, too.

We conform. We settle down. We don’t want to change. Change might mean disaster. But the Colossus grows ever-more powerful, its scope wider, broader, deeper, and it governs. It governs, and we are governed, pleased with feeding in crumbs, and left alone on the Sabbath.

But all this is fine and good. We can choose and we can decide. We are responsible, sentient beings with a capacity for thought and foresight. We regularly make investments with our limited resources in time, energy, affections, cash.

Long ago, wanting to be a writer, a poet, I chose to cut back.  I needed time, a lot of time to write a novel, plays, poems, and I could not afford regular job; granted, I taught for over 25 years, but not usually on a full-time basis, leaving me plenty of time to writing.

Of course this meant less money, but there were increasingly less things I wanted to buy or do: going to bars, ristos, movies, for starters. Walking, running, swimming, cycling are free. As is talking, but outside a tiny circle of friends and relatives, this past year, since reneging The Word, writing, and turnedbinward upon myself, imploded and started to paint, I speak to very few people. Though married, sometimes it feels like I open my mouth only to eat, sip tea, answer direct questions, fail to respond to a phone ringing.  It can wait.

I  work quietly at home listening to a radio I bought 27 years ago, using wood panels that are far cheaper than canvas.I re-read books, mostly thick classics from Ancient, English, Russian and French Literature, and walk to wherever it is I have to go when, of course, I do have to go anywhere outside the house past the gate. And in emergencies, I do have a large motorcycle.

The Last Rebel, like Government, Bureaucrac tax and bill collectors are at the door, on the phone, in bulletins, emails,  ubiquitous. I stand, ineffectual brush at the ready against intruders: strangers who come calling because they want something from you.

And I say: Sorry, not interested, and turn away from the Last Rebels.

Unless… unless….hey, wanna buy a painting?

ln the end, success is an act of rebellion, success in your own terms, large or small, known or unknown. When the painting is right, you feel it, you know. And little else matters.

And a propos of paintings, the little man depicted owns the building.

16 Chapel Rd, II, or Style is repetition, Art imitation, and David is just rock.

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16 Chapel Rd, Suite II, acrylic on wood, 106 x 96, Luigi Monteferrante

16 Chapel Rd, Suite II, acrylic on wood, 106 x 96, Luigi Monteferrante

When does repetition become personal style, a clearly defined, easily recognizable signature piece in art, music,  literature?

Michelangelo, and lesser artists, are easily found out even by the layman; so, too, Bach, or Shakespeare, or a David Hockney.

And so, we have another 16 Chapel Rd, but we are in Suite II, what might have been Helter Skelter at the Babylon, a collection, or album of people summoned to perform and act their fates before a live audience: you.

Much can be said,  but won’t.  The style is reminiscent of other paintings, indeed may be very similar to one in particular, but then again, you’ve seen one Cubist painting, Abstract Expressionist, Post-TransAvanguardia, Arte Povera, or whatever your choice, you’ve seen them all, right?

And Romeo & Juliet is just another boy meets girl story that ends badly, or well, if you like tearjerkers; it employs words, has a whole bunch of people in leotards and lace running around gasping, swordfighting, cursing, falling in love, sighing and dying, not necessarily in that order.

So, too, Michelangelo’s David, a well-built young stud standing naked – plenty of those around, I suppose,  not necessarily naked, but that’s what imagination is for, no?

And the reason for Art.

In a world without art or artists, and as important, humankind’s sensibility to beauty and aesthetic experience, Michelangelo’s David is just that: a stud in marble, a dude in stone, a block of marble.

There is more beyond the familiar substance, subject, theme and matter,  and because the world is a stage, and there’s nothing new under the sun, and you can’t step in the same river twice, if you look closely, if you live closely, feel intensely, think deeply, there is an infinity to witness, experience, discover as there is when you look at that same old person you love’s face really closely.

Hm, do I really know you?

(And Juliet, or the Lady of Shylock, oops, Shalot,  waving: it’s me,  it’s me.)

And time has passed, your eyes have begun to fail you, so you step closer, smell, sense,  touch that new, live, richly inexplorable sentient being, and marvel at infinitude.

So, too, my 16 Chapel Rd.

(To name the first that comes to mind, naturalmente, and not to be immodest.)

But to conclude, nota bene, my next will be different.

Wait and see.

And then I am off to London for a week.

The Oracle

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The Oracle,  Luigi Monteferrante, 106 x 96 cm, acrylic on wood, 2014.

The Oracle, Luigi Monteferrante, 106 x 96 cm, acrylic on wood, 2014.

Art is a quest.Life is a quest.  Getting out of bed is a quest. You have got to have a reason. Be it a salary, a career, a class to attend or teach, pride, ambition, and/or a host of abstract and damn practical motives, you do things for a mixture of pragmatic, ideological, faith-based considerations – work vs slacker ethic, etc.

Deep inside, some of us feel as if we have experienced a Visitation, a Calling, a Vocation.

The rough business at hand is for you to sort, clients to please, customers to satisfy, the opposition to appease or quell, relations to provide for – an endless list of chores dealing with persons and things which require intervention: yours, ours, mine.

Nothing comes from nothing.

Armed with self-belief, a faith in self,  I am impelled to paint, trans-substantiate ideas, visions, dreams, a voice to form; alas, two-dimensional, but even in my sculptures of stone and driftwood, the third dimensions lacks the fourth and vital dimension: time.

It is in time, that we play out the scheme the Oracle has whispered to us, to me, an oracle I could easily choose to ignore – go to the cinema, read a book, meet with friends, real or otherwise; instead, the Oracle is by your side, whispers  in your heart, holds a flame to your brackish mind, pushes you on, indeed wakes you in the middle of the night, or day, drags you from slumber, and you are compelled to create, draw, start painting before it is too late, before you rise no more, your duty forsaken, your calling ignored, the Oracle, here an fair attractive woman, transformed into a screaming Harpie, or a Medusa, but instead of your turning instantly into stone, she kindles you back to blood, bone and gut to torture you the more, holding the mirror to your face with you, and nobody else but you, to blame, to blame, to crucify.

Expectations, or The Comedy of King Hamlet

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Expectations, Luigi Monteferrante, 106 x 96 cm, acrylic on wood, 2014.

Expectations, Luigi Monteferrante, 106 x 96 cm, acrylic on wood, 2014.

Expectations? We have them. We might choose to feign harboring none, the cynic, the disaffected, the moody melancholic, and those too cowardly to raise that castle in the air, erect, build and establish their dreams and expectations.  Large or small, bright or gloomy, morning dawns with expectations. And expectations don’t sleep; they lie in wake.

In this painting, time was short, and there was an abundance of energy, an overflow that sundered the restraints of time, and carried over from Expectations to Oracle, the next painting.

In Expectations,  set in post-Classical darkness, the woman on the left is expecting a child, her future pregnant with aspirations, certainties – an heir – the warmth, love, fears and vicissitudes of motherhood.

The man,  a warrior, knight, nobleman – he is handsome, young, clutches a stiletto at his belt – gazes forward, not far in time or space, but at the present.  Guarded, cool, unsmiling, bared of faith, but his own self-confidence, and strength. Master of his Castle.

To his left, a woman, disproportionately large, attractive; prophecy, distraction, or more earthly: a mistress, a mother?

It reminds me of Hamlet, not the tragedy, but what was a tentative title: The Comedy of Hamlet, King of Denmark. Comedy because it ends happily. He kills nobody, marries Ophelia, currently expecting a child, and Gertrude is at peace, Uncle having died of old age. Or perhaps attacked and killed by a pack of boars. And in any case, Gertie resigned to playing off-center stage, with Hamlet and the Mrs clearly in command.

But all is not well in the Danish realm. Ophelia will bear triplets: envy, jealousy and violence.

And the skies grow dark with bloody expectations.

Purgatorio

art, artist, contemporary artist, gallery, Luigi Monteferrante
Luigi Monteferrante in Caravaggio mode.

Luigi Monteferrante in Caravaggio mode.

One day, one day without painting, was hell – no, but purgatorio, si.

Yesterday, work on the house had me assisting the bricklayer and plumber, and so I was on call for errands, cleaning, and moving furniture back and forth. Nothing heavy, nor tiring, and with small talk, the morning passed by easily enough.

By afternoon, however, the realization that I had nothing in mind, body, or spirit regarding my next painting had me feeling wretched, my mind not a blank, which conjures a clean, fresh, bright page, canvas or screen; instead, a thick, turgid, muddy green/grey swamp dully bubbling at an ever-decreasing rate and temperature.

My body, too, began to creak, my muscles   growing taut, my spirit sluggish, dull, a smoky fog as heavy as a lead mantle.

The day’s work done, I walked into the night by the sea, head slung low, the only rumblings the crash of waves ashore. So, too, dinner and after, a quiet evening of dull despair and emptiness failed to bring deliverance.

I woke up at 3:09, ready to plug my ears with a BBC podcast when suddenly a vision.

A vision.

That is: two consecutive, successive visions.

Clear, perfect, two bodies of work delivered bedside.

La notte porta giudizio, says an Italian proverb, night brings wisdom.

And something more. Levitation. And the exit sign out of Limbo.

Meditations

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Meditations, acrylic on wood, 106 x 96 cm, Luigi Monteferrante

Meditations, acrylic on wood, 106 x 96 cm, Luigi Monteferrante

Meditations is the second painting of Year Two, the first lengthily and superficially described in the previous post below. I painted Meditations outdoors in my garden.

Studio at Villa Monteferrante.

Studio at Villa Monteferrante.

The subject matter may indicate a sense of peace, serenity, or possibly, the end of an equilibrium, the start of something new,  a zero zone, a no man’s land yet to cross and explore. Maybe so.

In a week, I shall be in London with no set purpose. I will, of course, visit museums and galleries,  but also club, bars and pubs.

And I will draw from the experience.

As for Meditations, a curious or striking aspect are the artworks within the artwork. The Triangle of Elements, or The Ages of Mankind: Gold, Silver, Bronze, Iron. (My Classics education kicks in inopportunately, still upset I dropped out like a Golden Ass.)

The Ages hangs on the wall, dominates, possibly reflects energy and vibrations from the aforementioned metals our two human characters absorb, and are transformed; for one, they’ve stripped naked, meditation as foreplay to wild Saturnalian sex? The Ages as commentary: ours is which of the four represented, or have I left ours out: silicon? Whatever.

The room also features two sculptures, red and rounded, the woman’s possible projection; lava-like and angular the second to the man’s side.

Meaning?

Art within art, books within books, bios within alternative biographies, is an old trick, a game of labyrinths, Russian dolls, Borgesian parables, but here nothing more than a bare wall with a couple of holes that need to be covered.  That, or the artist running out of panels to paint, or too lazy to  actually begin a sculpture, get his hands dirty, or burnt, the second sculpture being metal, requiring torches and hellfire.

Or maybe he is just showing off, smiling wryly, reminding a small world that it might have been easier to paint Abstract, instead of Figurative Narrations & Modern Mythologies, but he and I say: I don’t know the lexicon.

And I don’t want to B.S. you because you are smarter and wiser. So you tell me.

Oh, but don’t get me wrong; as a writer of bad endlessly complicated and long novels I could write heaps, create ten characters standing before Meditations, each person offering their interpretation to anyone with the time and patience to listen, but we have neither time nor patience, and words are sometimes best left unspoken, each one of us pleased, satisfied, and gloating in our own solipsistic nuclei that the truth we hold dear is ours alone.

And nothing can be taught, the reason for Meditations.

Year One

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Art Blog

Year One Luigi Monteferrante

A year ago yesterday, 2 November, 2013,  I started my first painting: Boating to Alphaville. Since, I have built up a considerable body of work, as anyone can see at the Paintings link:

http://www.luigimonteferrante.com

A year has gone by, almost entirely dedicated to painting. Each and every day, except for trips to Bruxelles and London,  and August on the beach with family, I worked in the turret and in the garden grateful for the time, space and opportunity to do and paint as and what I pleased. No pressure, but my own solitary pursuit of some insubstantial ideal transformed via my rough hands into icon. From idea to icon. Irreligious, no; nor sacred, but for the blind faith and almost stupid devotion to a need to bring order, pattern, expression and color to an inner vision, an ethereal plan made concrete. Or painterly.

Today, Monday, Year Il, I will celebrate…

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Year One

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Year One Luigi Monteferrante

A year ago yesterday, 2 November, 2013,  I started my first painting: Boating to Alphaville. Since, I have built up a considerable body of work, as anyone can see at the Paintings link:

http://www.luigimonteferrante.com

A year has gone by, almost entirely dedicated to painting. Each and every day, except for trips to Bruxelles and London,  and August on the beach with family, I worked in the turret and in the garden grateful for the time, space and opportunity to do and paint as and what I pleased. No pressure, but my own solitary pursuit of some insubstantial ideal transformed via my rough hands into icon. From idea to icon. Irreligious, no; nor sacred, but for the blind faith and almost stupid devotion to a need to bring order, pattern, expression and color to an inner vision, an ethereal plan made concrete. Or painterly.

Today, Monday, Year Il, I will celebrate by starting a new painting, one I have already harped upon, and I already know what my next will be after that. On their completion,  who knows? All I can do is celebrate the occasion, this moment in space/time/energy, to be at my easel, and leave you with an invitation to collect my previous work:

http://www.luigimonteferrante.com

Buona visione!

P.S. Yes, of course, there is much more to be said, and I may return to elaborate on this post, but I hear the approach of a fast-falling object…

The fast falling object was exactly what I expected, and as I suspected, facile, a toss, or throwaway, the picture of a man falling from a dry dam. I painted over it, and it was transformed into an abstract impressionist painting of a downpour in blue, the pictorial rendering of a late night in Dublin, on my way home from a club.

Walking with my Muse Under Dublin Rain at 4: 15 AM

Recall is not always automatic,  and why the image and memory was conveyed to me, I don’t know,  but there it was. Rain, blue night, and lamp posts.

That, then, might be what this year actually represented: head down, shoulders hunched, hands sometimes fretful or shaking from the cold, an adventure in the dark, an unhoped for companion, and a bit of old-fashioned gallantry for my lady muse in the dark, but for a luminous orb overhead.

Now to repeat this scene every day, take these actions, repeat them for 300 days or so, and I can only be pleased to have the work piled and stored away like old much-cherished love letters one needs to  burn, metaphorically speaking, to start anew. Oh, how one might want to change, but can you really change? Or really want to?

Change, yes, burn thirty or more years in the middle I deem insignificant, but were obviously steps leading to the present time and mirror-image of what I am, or appear to be; welcome or not, I am what I am, but cannot help thinking or feeling that this entire year has been a positive step backward across  three decades of being and nothingness to what I would like to delude myself into believing a more creative time, when in fact, the present and very recent past have been most creative and fruitful, first with writing poetry that has been widely and extensively published, then in painting which has not had a large audience, but the force and energy have been powerful, their focus laser-sharp.

A success, except for the lack of supporters, collectors, attention from critics,  journalists, a visiting public, followers.

A success, creatively speaking, and yet, it seems a part of being an artist depends on your ability to ‘con’ people with the most fantastic tales of your greatness, mesmerizing people with hypnotic tricks, schmoozing with those that count,  the powerful few, but this is not my game. Nor can I act up for any significant amount of time without feeling emptied, despoiled, made to feel like a clown when succesful, or a fool when it fails. And is it worth it, being unable to work because of talks, meetings, chats, everything necessary to get your work seen, talked about? A short time, yes. Then I may fail. And location does not help, being as I am, in a small town. Who, by chance, might see my paintings and show interest? Few and unlikely. Hence, an ulterior fault preventing my self from achieving any amount of success, large or small. No reason for optimism, little room for hope that anything outside the walls will affect or be affected.  The sole consolation is in the work itself.

My fear, and the fire fuelling my devotion, is that sooner or later, pressure will mount from outside to get a job, make money, get out of the house to keep or stay sane, but until then, I keep the door open for my muses, listen to their suggestions, and do my best to  follow a higher order. On earth as it is in heaven.

And perhaps you learn to do what it takes, and with a little luck and persistence, the alchemic composite formulated by Fat Chance and McFate, there may come a calling from afar – a collector, curator, critic, journalist – with a word to spend, and some cash, because in the end, even after reading two excellent biographies of Picasso and Matisse hoping to gain some insight, what I most learned is what I already knew as as a poet and writer: all we want is some bread to create and run our own circus.

So, mes amis, don’t be shy. Query:

arteluigi@gmail.com

luigimonteferrante@yahoo.com

Where does Art come from?

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2014-10-31 18.01.25

Where do paintings come from? Where does art come, the singular piece?

The above painting, Genesis, is not a painting I would have conceived or, once conceived, wanted to paint. Dark, disquieting, open to a variety of intetpretations I might find interesting, intriguing,  right or wrong though they may be.

Compared to the previous most recent work, Genesis would not be the first to hang on my walls. A woman, moribund, on  a table; a woman very near tears. No use describing it; the picture is posted for you to see, judge, dismiss, revile.

In fact, on the back of this painting, is another piece I had started sketching, near completed, a wholly different painting, one that would have been much less exhausting, and aesthetically pleasing, conceptually gratifying, the literal expression of a profoundly felt sentiment, but not one I plan on acting upon for the time being.

But Genesis, too, was a vision, not one that appeared in a dream, but in my waking hours – at that twilight zone of time of 3 am when I first awake, only to resume my journey towards the dawn.

From the initial vision, the picture expanded as I stared at the unprimed board.

Curled fingers, fingers, eyes, heads and legs generated themselves from nothing, or to be honest, the natural tones of pressed unsand-papered wood.

So where does Genesis, or more generally, art come from?

Not being a neuroscientist, nor a psychotherapist, I have no idea, but I do prescribe to the idea of Muses and visitations and divine intervention; that is often exactly how it feels, a curtain pulled aside, a tap on the shoulder, a word whispered, and everything is suddenly clear, not for nothing are they called illuminations, epiphanies, inspiration – to inspire, breathe in – what? The universe, human history, tragedy, comedy, melodrama, all of it, the human very personal condition.

Enthusiasm follows fast on the heels of inspiration, enthusiasm, being one with the gods, hence creation, Genesis.

Of course, there are electro-chemical actions, flux and reactions, a neural primordial soup, more like a swamp, full of life, one that would have remained a swamp breeding pestilence, no doubt, but for a new and external agent, an accidental spark, a freak bolt of lightning, and the given normal state is upset, disturbed, altered, the elements now in motion, reacting, twisting and gyrating, transforming and reshaping itself into a new body, new stuff, an entirely new thing, but not being gods, all we can do is create art.

Art, humankind’s imitation of Divinity, creating art, man’s mimicking the Divine Act.

I have not answered my initial question; maybe you can.

Me, I am just happy my beautiful muses come knocking; a slap to the head, a shout to the ear, a French kiss to the mouth, however they wish to spark life in this primordial mud of bone, gut and blood held together by pale sack, I welcome and take what comes.

Until the time prophesied by my next painting.