On my studio wall is a phrase ‘objects that blend, objects that blur’. I wrote it months ago, not really understanding why. I wrote it one afternoon when I was stuck for ideas. It didn’t generate any. I wasn’t sure what it meant but I liked it. I am now, finally, starting to get it.
So what is it, that I am starting to get? This is going to be rather mind-blowing. I’m starting to get, or believe, that there is no such thing as solid matter, organic or inorganic. It is all just energy. Objects, as we see them, are not out there away from in here. They are simply an extension of us. Or, more accurately, they are part of us. They are a part of each other too. If we were to break all matter, organic and inorganic, down to the finest detail, it is all the same. It is all one big mush of mess.
We are so used to seeing the world in a dualistic way: us vs them. Us being our consciousness, and them being all the things we see, touch, smell, hear and perceive. But is this reality? I’ve been reading again (it is a dangerous business) and I have had a moment of enlightenment. I’ve been reading about the Japanese philosophy of wabi sabi. Wabi sabi is, in the briefest of terms, a Japanese aesthetic sensibility which appreciates the beauty of transient things and change. The origins of wabi sabi derive from Zen Buddhism. Zen Buddhism states that despite what we have been brought up to believe for centuries, more than centuries, there is no duality in the world. There isn’t an us vs them. We are not separate from what we perceive, we are what we perceive. So, ergo, we and things are all the same. We are all mush. We are all mess.
How does this relate to my art practice? I have most recently been painting objects that do not look like objects. I have been painting still-life objects that are almost completely unidentifiable as things. What are they? It is hard to tell. Some of them vaguely resemble the real thing; most do not. They are things deconstructed. They are things broken down into line, colour, form, shape, derived from the process of photographing them, remembering them, drawing them in virtual reality, remembering them again, and painting them.
These paintings prove the point that behind, or within, all things is just something abstract, something not actually solid. They prove that all everything is is a manifestation of energy. So my argument, which I bang on about quite a lot but I am now starting to really understand, is that our virtual objects are no different from our real objects, which are no different from our remembered objects, which are no different from our imagined objects or our treasured objects, and indeed ourselves. So could this actually be true and not just fancy philosophical thinking?
I think so. An now I just need to wait for science to agree with me, in totality.