“I could paint for a hundred years, a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing.”
— Paul Cézanne
There is so much to know and understand. On the mundane level, we struggle constantly with the social pressure of dealing with structures that have broken down and doing it in a way that we can still feel human. On the emotional we learn with each relationship and type of relationship about what we want, how to deal with the other and how to be compassionate and loving even when that involves moving on or becoming more direct. On an intellectual level we are exposed to a constant barrage of new information amidst a cultural bias against critical thinking about any of it. On a spiritual level we need to learn to integrate our highest possible selves with our shadow and struggle sometimes between the two.
Artists bridge many of these gaps. We represent each of these struggles. We use symbolism and tell stories and show the basic dichotomies at all levels of human existence. Yet it is one thing to illustrate the human condition and another to understand and resolve it. I don’t know that any artist can do this. Oh we can show different points of view and inspire people to think and feel. Yet in the end, we are all working on these things ourselves.
I love the book Illusions by Richard Bach. In it, a character is given a Messiah’s Handbook full of profound sayings that illuminate his existence. Yet the last line of the book is “Everything in this book may be wrong.” At the end while something I say or illustrate may profoundly affect someone, I am left with the realization that it may be wrong or at least incomplete. Perhaps that is the ultimate artistic dilemma. That we can describe and show insight into the human condition but provide little resolution.
Click on images to see full-sized:
Winged Skull by G A Rosenberg
Petals by G A Rosenberg
Awaiting Its Prey by G A Rosenberg