The American critic Sidney Lanier once wrote that what was important was ‘the holiness of beauty.’ ‘Unless’, he stated, ‘you are suffused with beauty, truth, wisdom, goodness, and love abandon the hope that the ages will accept you as an artist.’ Such sentiments are unlikely to be uttered now as they are no longer in fashion of ever and were probably never in fashion yet much of this sentiment is still true. The true artist aspires to achieve the equivalent of the philosopher’s stone. As Jean Leymarie wrote of Balthus’s art:
Some artists are providentially singled out as bearers of the Golden Bough. They abide, pilgrims of eternity, keepers of the spirit, servants of beauty, traversing their time and all its transitory flux and reflux, set on a steady course, intent on timeless values ...3
Such realities are true of such artists in this exhibition as David Nash and Zsusza Kollo who is noteworthy, in the best of her art, for its luminous quality. Slowness is a notable feature of Nash’s art, he deliberately forsaking the commercial gallery system so that he make artworks of quality rather than succumb to bland formulas that can be churned out and are easily marketed.
In the Epic of Gilgamesh Gilgamesh hopes ‘to learn the secret of immortality’.4 He travels in search of this secret ‘along the road of the sun’ and, when he has attained one league, ‘Dense is the darkness and light there is none; / He can see nothing ahead or behind.’ He travels ‘for eight leagues in total darkness’ before, ‘beginning the ninth league, he feels the north wind fanning his face’ and ‘he gradually emerges from the cave.’ When he has attained eleven leagues, ‘the dawn breaks’, and, when he has attained twelve leagues, it grows bright.5 ‘On seeing the grove of stones, he heads for’:
The carnelian bears its fruit;
It is hung with vines good to look at.
The lapis bears foliage;
It, too, bears fruit lush to behold.6
The carnelian, also known as cornelian, is ‘a fine chalcedony, generally translucent red’,7 and lapis is the Latin word for a stone that is ‘used in certain phrases only, as lapis philosophicus, the philosophers’ stone’.8
Gilgamesh had to range and wander over all the lands, traverse difficult mountains, cross all the seas, frett himself with wakefulness, and fill his joints with aches9 until, eventually, he found the plant ‘Whereby a man may regain his life’s breath.’10 He does so after the wife of Utnapishtim, ‘the one human being who has acquired’ this plant, takes pity on him after he falls asleep, as he ‘is, after all, human and very tired’, when Utnapishtim tells ‘his story—the famous story of the flood’, and tells him ‘about a wonderful plant of immortality that grows at the bottom of the sea.’11 Gilgamesh tells Urshanabi, the boatman, that he will eat it so that he can return to the state of his youth. ‘Its name’, he says, ‘shall be “Man Becomes Young in Old Age.”’ But, when he bathes, a serpent comes up from the water and carries off the plant. ‘Going back’, it sheds ‘its slough’, its skin. ‘Thereupon Gilgamesh sits down and weeps’.12
‘That climb, the reditus,’ Jerry S. Clegg states:
is initiated through aesthetic experience, for Beauty alone, as the Phaedrus makes clear, is the visible embodiment of the good and the holy ... In this ascent from nature’s cycles to a static realm that is both the goal and the terminal of contemplation all sense of individuality is surrendered as the soul takes on the characteristics of the impersonal Ideas it beholds. Since the Good is the One beyond the multiple Being of the Ideas, the objects of knowing, the last stage of the reditus is mystical, apophantic, and beyond thinking. The Good numbs the mind as the sun stuns the eye. Thus as sense of self is consumed, so also thought leaves off. The soul becomes the One at that timeless moment when thinking stops.13
For Jean Cocteau ‘every beautiful work is written by hand and is the result of a long wait’14 as, like Orpheus, he descended ‘into the hell of our subconscious’ and returned ‘leading a beautiful, naked, awkward creature called Eurydice, but whose splendid and sad name is really TRUTH’15 as the true mission of the poet, and we can also say the artist here, is ‘to upset the rules, to poke his nose everywhere, to concern himself with what is not his business’ so that he could make us aware of a reality that ‘is made from Beauty in its purest state.’16 For Gustav Flaubert, who ‘sought to live a life as quiet and ordinary on the outside as it was violent and original within, where the artist dwelt in an inviolate sanctuary hidden from profane eyes’ as ‘he labored for eternity’,17 ‘life was hideous and to be avoided by living in art, in the incessant search for the true perceived through the intermediary of the beautiful.’18 Flaubert lived for Art, ‘in the ceaseless quest for Truth presented by Beauty’.19 ‘The daimon’, which W. B. Yeats understood as the ‘ultimate self’, ‘a perfected soul’,20 ‘the individual’s inner sense of what he or she might become by striving’, was his ‘driving muse.’ His thought was framed within the cosmology of the Cabbalistic Tree of Life21 where ‘the extreme centre of the Rose is white, the reflected spiritual brightness of Kether’, what Yeats called the ‘Condition of Fire’, embodying ‘the way to the attainment of supreme godhead, the adept’s higher self’,22 as ‘natural, instinctive impulses from the “terrestrial condition” travel up the Tree of Life ... via “the path of the serpent”’,23 as he searched for the philosopher’s stone24 and the perfection of his soul. ‘The artist’, he stated, ‘is always an outsider, a holy hermit living on the threshold of the sacred house’.25 For the mystic Simone Weil there is a need to make oneself open to the ‘uplifting power of grace’, to ‘passively receive, not actively seek’. Le choc du beau (‘the jolting experience of the beautiful’) and pain are inevitably part of key stages of progressive enlightenment.26 Weil believed that all human beings are born from a previous higher state. Le choc du beau reawakens in us memory of the divine and the soul ascending upward through grace.27 She placed supreme importance on beauty situating ‘the artist, the sage, the hero and the saint together in the same lofty region of “genius”.’28 The hero and the saint she saw as those favoured ‘with the divine election to receive affliction’.29 They were able to perceive more clearly the beauty and symmetry of the world. All great art, for her, is religious in that it partakes of the beautiful. The great artist is ‘like a pencil in the hand of the divine poet.’30 In creating a work of art of the highest order the artist’s attention is directed towards silence and the void. She described Plato as ‘an authentic mystic ... the father of Western mysticism’. His wisdom is ‘nothing other than an orientation of the soul toward grace.’31
What is most noticeable about many art exhibitions that you see now is how unmemorable and abysmal many of them are. There is little sense of striving in them especially for that which is seemingly unattainable. In that way they are simply reflections of the banality of the times we live in when the life of the mind is considered to be of little value and where almost everything is considered to be culture so that the proper meaning of culture as being well educated and refined has been almost totally lost. Culture now is almost always used to refer to our way of life no matter how appalling it is which only proves how uncultured many of us have become. Such art emerges out of a society where people studying art are told that they are artists and encouraged to exhibit their art when their art has not got the sufficient skill to be worthwhile to exhibit and where the exhibition of their art simply seems to be an opportunity for such people to socialise with their peers. This problem of the embracement of mediocrity and, if an idea or ideas are attempted to be conveyed in an artwork or artworks, of not being successfully conveyed to the viewer is not just limited to artists but also pervades art funding bodies who often reward such activity and organisations like ABC television that shows little or no interest in excellence in the arts. While the internet has its advantages its indiscriminate amassing of information means that there is less of a yardstick to assess such material resulting in a decreasing number of people who can properly assess art. The number of discriminating people has always been low and, unfortunately, seems to have become even smaller. Trivialising art trivialises life. What is the point of having a life if all you do is engage in trivial pursuits. The problem of the embracement of mediocrity is not just limited to this state or country but is endemic to Western society as a book like High Art Lite,32 that highlights the crisis in art in Britain, demonstrates. For the American literary critic Cleanth Brooks the ‘deadening of the imagination’ that ‘has occurred’ with the growth of ‘the mass production of entertainment’ that ‘an industrial civilization has undertaken ... to fill up the leisure which it has created’33 has resulted in a situation where, as regards the difference between ‘shoddy art’ and ‘the great art of the age’, ‘the present situation gives us the towering height of the Andes separated by only a relatively few miles from the depths of the Atacama Trench of the South Pacific’.34
What is apparent is the intricate detail, precision, compositional skill and luminosity that can be seen in various artworks in this exhibition as Ilona Schneider’s Spring and Kevin Frost’s Chinese Brush and Water Tower. Both Schneider and Frost have very strong understanding of technique, an understanding which is vital to achieve profundity in an artwork. Schneider was apprenticed to a master photographer as a young girl in Austria and strongly believes in the apprentice model for the arts in an age where the world is turned upside down as the banal and mediocre is often celebrated and the profound often almost totally ignored while Frost, who has a very deep knowledge of philosophy and history in the tradition of the scholar gentleman, where it was in the tradition of the family in Germany to cultivate the scholar, artist or philosopher, or where, as in China, there was a tradition of the public servant retiring to cultivate the arts, grapples with a major theme of art history in such photographs of the still life as The Four Pears and Pears in a Bowl while he is also interested in ‘ghosts’, the hauntedness of buildings and places, primarily in night work.
Tragedy and decay are often missing from many art exhibitions due to their inauthenticity and their avoidance of the nature of life, their anxiety to only skim over the surface and avoid the reality of life. Decay however is a vital part of Richard Marks’s photography as in his photographs concerning the beauty of death and his photograph of Old Jack where Old Jack and the twigs of a tree have almost become one.
Lindsay Broughton’s Dionysus reminds us of the symbolical importance of Dionysus, ‘the paradoxical master magician of pleasure and pain, beauty and cruelty, genius and madness, ecstasy and terror’,35 who takes us into deep mysteries in creativity while Apollo, the sun-god, the god of reason and philosophy, in whom ‘the clarity and the breadth of the mind’ holds sway,36 shapes them and brings them into the light. ‘We can only hope’, wrote E. H. Gombrich, ‘to achieve this true knowledge’, ‘the Neo-Platonist “idea of intuition as the highest form of knowledge”’, ‘in the rare moments when the soul leaves the body in a state of ek-stasis, such as may be granted us through divine frenzy’.37 The ‘unfathomable world of Dionysus’ is the world of which the philosopher Friedrich Schelling ‘was thinking’, in Die Weltalter, ‘when he spoke of the “self-destroying madness” which “still remains the heart of all things. Controlled only by the light of a higher intelligence and calmed by it, as it were, it is the true power of nature and everything she produces”’.38 ‘He who begets something which is alive’, Walter F. Otto writes, ‘must dive down into the primeval depths in which the forces of life dwell. And when he rises to the surface, there is a gleam of madness in his eyes because in those depths death lives cheek by jowl with life,’ as ‘the primal mystery is itself mad—the matrix of the duality and the unity of disunity.’39 Thus when Virginia Woolf ‘wrote the last ten pages’ of her novel The Waves ‘she felt that she was being taken over by huge universal forces’.40 If’, she wrote in her diary, ‘I could catch the feeling, I would: the feeling of the singing of the real world [the subconscious] as one is driven by loneliness and silence from the habitable world.’ ‘One goes down into the well and nothing protects one from the assault of truth’.41
Dionysus is ‘a god who is mad!’ And, as Otto comments, ‘there can be a god who is mad only if there is a mad world which reveals itself through him.’ ‘The love which races toward the miracle of procreation is touched by madness. So is the mind when it is staggered by the impulse to create.’42 It has been thought, Otto states, ‘that wine was part of the cult of Dionysus even at an early age, but it was used only as a means to produce ecstasy’,43 a state where ‘all the limits that the normal day has set must disappear’, as ‘man has already been thrust out of everything secure, everything settled, out of every haven of thought and feeling, and has been flung into the primeval cosmic turmoil in which life, surrounded and intoxicated with death, undergoes eternal change and renewal.’44 ‘The Dionysiac condition is a primal phenomenon of life in which every man must participate in all of the moments of birth in his creative existence.’45 Divine poetry, Plato says in the Phaedrus, is ‘a possession from the Muses, and a mania’ that ‘is imparted from above to a tender and solitary soul ... so that it may be properly receptive to divinity and harmonize with it ...’46 ‘A soul hard and resisting, and disobedient to divine illumination, would oppose the energy of divinely inspired possession’.47 ‘Bacchic fury is the province both of that which illuminates and that which is illuminated, and the two processes become one: the divine force moving from above, and the soul surrendering itself to this motion.’ It ‘is a divinely inspired motion and ... an unwearied dance upward toward the divine, giving perfection to the possessed.’ ‘The poet’, says Socrates, ‘who approaches the poetic gates without such a mania will be imperfect, and his poetry, so far as it is dictated by prudence, will vanish before that which is the outcome of fury’.48 This is as true in art as it is in poetry. ‘The goal of such expenditure of libidinal energy, of such a will to power’ in Dionysiac frenzy, writes Allen S. Weiss, ‘is to attain “the whole man,” by overcoming fragmented individuality; the principium individuationis is overcome within Dionysiac frenzy.’49 In his ‘Towards a Psychology of the Artist’, in Twilight of the Idols, Nietzsche writes that :
A man in this state transforms things until they mirror his power—until they are reflections of his perfection. This having to transform into perfection is—art. Even everything that he is not yet, becomes for him an occasion of joy in himself; in art man enjoys himself as perfection.50
The artworks in this exhibition range widely but many address the major themes of this exhibition. For Mandy Renard, like Simone Weil, joy is ‘an indispensable ingredient of human life, for the health of the mind’, so that a ‘complete absence’ of it ‘would be equivalent to madness.’51 Through joy the beauty of the world penetrates our soul.52 Weil believed that because all people had experienced before their life on earth ‘a direct and clear contemplation of the transcendent realities (the true, the good, the beautiful) in a celestial state’ the secret of spiritual experience in life had to do with memory. The past is the best image of eternal, supernatural realities.53 Renard writes, of her In the Field of Everlastings exhibition in 2008, that ‘the field of everlastings is content and waits patiently for us if we can only find our way.’54 Her art here has an affinity with the philosophy of Weil and the wisdom found in Taoism and the teachings of Lao Tsu in the Tao te Ching. The notion of ‘waiting in patience’55 is crucial to Weil’s philosophy. ‘We do not’, Weil believed, ‘obtain the most precious gifts by going in search of them but by waiting for them.’56 The ‘action of grace in our hearts is secret and silent.’57 ‘The Heart’, Harold Stewart writes, in connection to Pure Land Buddhism, ‘should be allowed to unfold as naturally as the lotus-bud to the sun’s ray, by avoiding any thought, word, or deed that might hinder or inhibit Amida’s gift; but also by refraining from any attempt to help or hasten it by individual effort.’58 With David Nash’s painting can be seen the concern with an internal life, and self reflection, that is so visible in the art of such a master as Mark Rothko while Uli Gurung aims to evoke in the viewers of her meditative photographs a ‘luminous spark’, a ‘glimpse of spirituality’, a ‘deep sense of spaciousness and absorption’ that can be obtained by looking deep into the sky and watching the clouds go by. ‘In Buddhism’, she writes, ‘the innermost or pure nature of mind is compared to the deep, luminous blue of the sky, which is usually obscured by the mental scurry of our emotions and thoughts. But just as clouds are driven past by the wind, revealing glimpses of the brilliance and vast blueness of the sky, with some training (or under certain conditions) we may obtain notions of the pure nature of mind.’59 Richard Wastell’s Embodiment (for Caravaggio) shows that paintings of much beauty can be made to illustrate the horror of the disturbing degradation of Tasmania’s environment while Susan Anderson’s very good drawings, that are part of her The Wisdom in the Ring series, highlight the crucial role that plankton, ‘the canaries of the ocean’, play in absorbing carbon and releasing oxygen and thus help to preserve the delicate state of balance in the universe. Her drawings ‘attempt to “disconceal”60 the exquisite beauty, myriad forms, balance and symmetry within the microscopic plankton world’. Eco-philosopher Dan Dennett coined the phrase ‘the wisdom in the ring’ to describe the intelligence of forms within the natural world and Anderson chose the circular or ring formation in her drawings to symbolise unity, wholeness and infinity.61 Recent research has shown a 35 per cent drop in skeletal weight in researched plankton species. Alanna Mitchell has written, in her book Seasick, the hidden ecological crisis of the global ocean, that the question of what will happen to plankton, ‘a group of tiny organisms that range from microscopic marine viruses and bacteria to single celled-plants with fabulously ornate shells to miniscule plant eating animals’, ‘may be the most important question humans will ever grapple with. Plankton ... are the lynchpin on which life itself depends. Not only do they produce more than half of the planet’s oxygen but they are also responsible for a host of different, invisible and interlocked parts of the metabolism of the planet.’
Todd Jenkins’ art, at its best, has a fine, lyrical, sensuous quality which is best expressed in his painting Meditation, in his exhibition at The Salamanca Collection from August 14 to 8 September of this year, that adheres to Walter Pater’s dictum that all art should aspire to the quality of music. Chantale Delrue’s Isis Searching reminds us of the role that Isis plays in gathering together the scattered remains of Osiris so that you are initiated into higher truths through the process of suffering. For the novelist Thomas Wolfe ‘the eternal wheel ... was our only home!’62 He wanted to ‘weave into immortal denseness some small brede of words, pluck out of sunken depths the roots of living’ to beat death,63 and succeeded in this task.
The mountains, in their ‘haunting eternity’ (7), are Eugene’s masters in Wolfe’s novel Look Homeward, Angel. ‘They rimmed in life. They were the cup of reality, beyond growth, beyond struggle and death. They were his absolute unity in the midst of eternal change’ (158). He had ‘heard the ghostly ticking of his life; his powerful clairvoyance, the wild Scotch gift’ of his mother Eliza, ‘burned inward across the phantom years’ (159). She had had ‘a conviction, enforced by her Scotch superstitution’, ‘that she was being shaped to a purpose’ while her last child was ‘stirring in her womb’. As ‘a great star’ burns ‘across her vision in the western quarter of the sky’ (18) she, in her ‘almost Buddhistic complacency’, ‘the infinite composure, the tremendous patience which waits through half a lifetime for an event, not so much with certain foresight, as with a prophetic, brooding insight’ (17), fancies that ‘it was climbing heaven slowly’ (18). An hour after Eugene’s birth ‘she had looked in his dark eyes and had seen something that would brood there eternally, ... she knew that in her dark and sorrowful womb a stranger had come to life, fed by the lost communications of eternity, his own ghost, haunter of his own house, lonely to himself and to the world’ (66).
The bell in this novel ‘is “illumined mind”; its note is the beautiful sound of eternity that is heard by the pure mind throughout creation, and therefore within itself.’64
Eugene has a fundamentally optimistic vision of himself. ‘The fish swam upward from the depth.’ The world is ‘alive with the great fish of his imagining.’ ‘Collected fate would fall, on its chosen moment, like a plum. There was no disorder in enchantment’ (160). ‘He was Phaeton’, ‘the symbol of all who aspire to that which lie beyond their capabilities’,65 ‘with the terrible horses of the sun: he believed that his life might pulse constantly at its longest stroke, achieve an eternal summit’ (426). ‘From obscurity, hunger, loneliness, he might be lifted in a moment into power, glory, love’ (427). For the painter Odilon Redon, painter of such works as Sun Chariot with Four White Horses, the Apollo myth represents not just the triumph of good over evil and day over night but that of the creative spirit over matter, the power of art to transcend and make sense of chaos.
Twelve in this novel is related to the twelve labours of Hercules, ‘the inner symbolic task of coming to grips with the unconscious, and bringing unconscious content into the light of consciousness. Hercules is a Sun hero, symbol of Ego consciousness, but one who integrates much unconscious content into the light of consciousness.’66 Having great strength he triumphs over evil against great odds. It is Hercules who reaches the garden of the Hesperides on the slopes of Mt Atlas after many adventures and takes the apples and delivers them to Eurystheus. Hercules has two choices. ‘Virtue’s way is a narrow rocky path ‘leading upwards to a plateau where Pegasus may stand, the winged horse that symbolizes fame.’ The poet tells of Hercules’ deeds. Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, who ‘points the way sternly’, is his mentor67 and takes him up to Olympus in a chariot.68 ‘Fame blows her trumpet, or Father Time looks down, signifying that Hercules will be remembered for eternity.’69
With his ‘ravenous hunger for knowledge, experience, wisdom’ (179), that leads him ‘toward the soft stone smile of an angel’ (57), Eugene ‘had the most extraordinary love of incandescence. He hated dull lights, smoky lights, soft, or sombre lights. At night he wanted to be in rooms brilliantly illuminated with beautiful, blazing, sharp, poignant lights’ (168). Destiny bears down on him when he meets Margaret Leonard who had ‘the most tranquil and the most passionate face he had ever seen’ (176). Her ‘passionate calm beauty ... fed her inexhaustibly from within.’ She, in her purification, makes ‘a high music in him.’ ‘Suddenly he knew that all life seemed eternally strange to this woman, that she looked directly into the beauty and the mystery and the tragedy in the hearts of men, and that he seemed beautiful to her’ (177). He turns ‘his face up to her as a prisoner who recovers light, as a man long pent in darkness who bathes himself in the great pool of dawn, as a blind man who feels upon his eyes the white core and essence of immutable brightness. His body drank in her great light as a famished cast-away the rain: he closed his eyes and let the great light bathe him, and when he opened them again, he saw that her own were luminous and wet’ (178). She feeds his ‘ravenous hunger for knowledge, experience, wisdom’ that is ‘now to be ruddered, guided, controlled. The way through the passage to India, that he had never been able to find, would now be charted for him’ (179). Together they enter ‘the sacred grove of poetry’ (186).
Eugene sinks ‘deeper year by year into the secret life’ as ‘a strange wild thing bloomed darkly in his face’, ‘the flowering ecstasies, the dark and incommunicable fantasies in which his life was bound’ (197-8) in ‘the deep inward turning of the spirit’ (97). ‘Through the death of his brother, and the sickness that was rooted in his own flesh, Eugene’ comes ‘to know a deeper and darker wisdom than he had ever known before. He began to see that what was subtle and beautiful in human life was touched with a divine pearl-sickness.’ ‘The faces of the lords of the earth’, like those of Coleridge, Voltaire, Ben Jonson, Carlyle, Heine, Rousseau, Dante and Cervantes, are ‘faces wasted by the vulture, Thought; they were faces seared and hollowed by the flame of Beauty.’
‘The vast sea-surge of Homer’ beats in Eugene’s brain, his blood, his pulses, as did the sea-sound in Gant’s parlor shells ... the vast long music endures, and ever shall ... entombed in our flesh when we were young, remembered like “the apple tree, the singing, and the gold”’ (334-5). The golden apple is ‘the hero’s passport to paradise’ and ‘the ultimate fruit of life’ is ‘the golden apples of redeemed consciousness.’70
The pearl in this novel is ‘the incorruptible product of the life’s work’, man’s flesh completing the cycle of life, and then disappearing, ‘leaving behind the enduring work, often formed from the grit of suffering.’71
Through Margaret Leonard’s teaching, where his years bloom ‘like golden apples’ (180), Eugene clasps an enduring statue, ‘a victorious reality’ (179). The artworks in this exhibition have arisen from a history of art and Tasmania that this author has been writing since late 1997 and give an opportunity to see a wide range of art of quality that has been made in this state. I would like to thank all these artists who have chosen to participate in this show.
1 John W. Rathbun and Harry H. Clark, American Literary Criticism, 1860-1905, Vol.2, Twayne Publishers, Boston, 1979, p.104.
2 Ibid., p.107.
3 Nicholas Fox Weber, Balthus, A Biography, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1999, p.170.
4 Mircea Eliade, Death, Afterlife, and Eschatology, A Thematic Source Book of the History of Religions, Part 3 of From Primitives To Zen, Harper & Row, New York, 1974, p.8.
5 Ibid., p.9.
6 Ibid., pp.9-10.
7 A. M. Macdonald (editor), Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary, Thomas C Lothian, Melbourne, 1977, p.290.
8 Ibid., p.741.
9 Eliade, Death, Afterlife, and Eschatology, op. cit., p.12.
10 Ibid., p.15.
11 Ibid., p.8.
12 Ibid., p.15.
13 Jerry S. Clegg, On Genius: Affirmation and Denial from Schopenhauer to Wittgenstein, Peter Lang, New York, 1994, p.4.
14 André Fraigneau, Cocteau, translated by Donald Lehmkuhl, Grove Press, New York and Evergreen Books, London, 1961, p.182.
15 Ibid., pp.6-7.
16 Ibid., p.8.
17 Benjamin F. Bart, Flaubert, Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, New York, p.664.
18 Ibid., p.337.
19 Maurice Beebe, Ivory Towers and Sacred Founts, The Artist as Hero in Fiction From Goethe to Joyce, New York University Press, New York, 1964, p.62.
20 Susan Johnston Graf, W. B. Yeats—Twentieth Century Magus, York Beach, Maine, 2000, p.xiv.
21 Ibid., p.12.
22 Ibid., p.83.
23 Ibid., p.148.
24 Ibid., p.20.
25 Ibid., p.74.
26 John M. Dunaway, Simone Weil, Twayne Publishers, Boston, 1984, p.32.
27 Ibid., p.39.
28 Ibid., p.74.
30 Ibid., p.79.
31 Ibid, p.31.
32 Julian Stallabrass, High art lite, The rise and fall of young British art, Verso, London, 1999.
33 Cleanth Brooks, The Hidden God, Studies in Hemingway, Faulkner, Yeats, Eliot, and Warren, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1963, p.2.
34 Ibid., p.3.
35 Leonard M. Shlain, Art & Physics, Parallel Visions In Space, Time, And Light, William Morrow, New York, 1991, p.420.
36 Walter F. Otto, Dionysus Myth And Cult, translated with an introduction by Robert. B. Palmer, Spring Publications, Dallas, Texas, 1981, p.142.
37 David Sylvester, About Modern Art, Critical Essays 1948-96, Chatto & Windus, London, 1996, p.203.
38 Otto, Dionysus Myth And Cult, op. cit., p.141.
39 Ibid., pp.136-37.
40 Peter Dally, Virginia Woolf, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Robson Books, London, 1999, p.141.
41 Ibid., p.142.
42 Otto, Dionysus Myth And Cult, op. cit., p.136.
43 Ibid., p.145.
44 Ibid., p.140.
45 Ibid., p.142.
46 Proclus, ‘The Nature of Poetic Art’, in Harold Bloom (editor), The Art of the Critic, Literary Theory and Criticism from the Greeks to the Present, Vol.1, Classical and Medieval, Chelsea House, New York, 1985, pp.470-71.
47 Ibid., p.470.
48 Ibid., p.471.
49 Allen S. Weiss, The Aesthetics of Excess, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1989, p.5.
51 Simone Weil, Seventy Letters, translated and arranged by Richard Rees, Oxford University, London, 1965, p.95.
52 Ibid., p.87.
53 Dunaway, Simone Weil, op. cit., p.86.
54 Mandy Renard, artist statement for In the Field of Everlastings exhibition, Handmark Gallery, Hobart, 2008
55 Simone Weil, Waiting On God: Letters and Essays, Fount, London, 1977, p.x.
56 David McLellan, Utopian Pessimist: The Life and Thought of Simone Weil, Poseidon Press, New York, 1990, p.3.
57 Weil, Waiting On God: Letters and Essays, op. cit., p.8.
58 Harold Stewart, By the Old Walls of Kyoto, Weatherhill, Tokyo, 1981, p.248.
59 Artistic statement by Gurung, 2009.
60 N. Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought, Harper & Row, New York, p.39.
61 Information forwarded to this author by Sue Anderson, 6/8/2009.
62 David Herbert Donald, Look homeward, A Life of Thomas Wolfe, Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1987, p.269.
63 Ibid., p.347.
64 Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces, Fontana, London, 1993, p.171.
65 James Hall, Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, John Murray, London, 1992, p.243.
66 Tom Chetwynd, Dictionary of Symbols, Language of the Unconscious Volume 2, Thorsons, London, 1993, p.196.
67 Hall, Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, op. cit., p.152.
68 Ibid., p.148.
69 Ibid., p.152.
70 Chetwynd, Dictionary of Symbols, op. cit., p.30.
71 Ibid., p.322.
MICHAEL DENHOLM, Essay to accompany his curated exhibition Reflections on Beauty and Decay and other matters - which opened in the Schoolhouse Gallery and the Barn at Rosny Farm, Hobart on Thursday evening Sept 3rd. The exhibition continues 4th - 27th Sept Tues - Fri 11 - 4, Sat & Sun 12 - 4.
The American critic Sidney Lanier once wrote that what was important was ‘the holiness of beauty.’1 ‘Unless’, he stated, ‘you are suffused with beauty, truth, wisdom, goodness, and love abandon the hope that the ages will accept you as an artist.’2 Such sentiments are unlikely to be uttered now as they are no longer in fashion of ever and were probably never in fashion yet much of this sentiment is still true. The true artist aspires to achieve the equivalent of the philosopher’s stone. As Jean Leymarie wrote of Balthus’s art: