Conclusion

previousnext

Zen painting has not been adopted here. The similarities are not due to influence but to a temper of the times. In both our times and that of the Sung painters, many traditionally held mental objects are rejected as illusions.

The first Zen Buddhist paintings and ours have similar formal tendencies. A space grows from the middle of an individual live thing. Its appearance is guessed at from the inside since there is no real large outside viewpoint to fit it into. We have turned, as the Zen masters turned, to psychological portraits and ideas. But where are our ordinary things?

I am not at all sure where the seeds of non-objectivity lie. When the Zen painters sat down to paint with no pressure from the public, they painted concentrated visions of an objective world. This must have been from intense observation, close identification, and perception of some real thing. Similarly, the contemporary artist begins to paint unconsciously with no public demand. But so far he has shown me nothing specific except sets of relations. Contemporary artists do not believe in reality. Or they do not believe in individual comprehension of reality. It is very hard to state what they do believe in. They are formulating a new language.

I believe the same old things will reappear once the arts have gained confidence and common sense.

She is pure. Thinking that, I forget to feed the cat.

Men will always stumble over bumps and their thoughts return to them. This is the lesson to be learned form the first Zen Buddhist paintings.

The lesson to be learned form the Zen Buddhist position is a twofold truism. There is a Tao, a way of art-making that is common to all humans. But each individual must find it himself, only he knows it and therefore it is impossible to communicate it. But secondly, there is good and bad art, and a common human standard for it. Seeing it is also up to the individual, so it never can be proclaimed.

{Back to top of page}

Send comments by clicking the ... link below:
lich...@wholeo.net

{Wholeo Online} ~ {Trips} ~ {Art} ~ {Minnesota} ~ {MFA thesis contents}


© 1960, 2001 Caroling. All rights reserved. Last Modified: 10 August, 2001