Nutt Gallery Notes  #3  Oct'14

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Art is Free

When we see modern and contemporary art, together, it’s no big deal. They are out of context and we think, oh yes, those are very nice pictures and indeed they are. But when those pictures were made it was a really big deal. At the turn of the last century, the copying of the world with realistic methods had become tedious and emotionally repetitive, as opposed to a more ‘realistic’ approach that would include the mind as another dimension in the work.

Audrey explains conceptual art to Hector.
With the mind comes abstraction. If you’ve ever had the misfortune to pay attention to your mind and the way it is ‘functioning,’ you might know that I mean. Added to this, the ongoing industrial revolution and some pretty horrible and stupid wars and a person might start wondering what the heck is going on and what is this mind and the environment it has created, anyway? What the mind is thinking is as important in a work of art as what dress someone might be wearing, what’s in the room, and should I be painting haystacks or fruit?

This mind aspect to making a picture is very interesting. But you still have to get there. You have to get to that place where the image can be imagined. Works that have been done can help somewhat. They’re a very nice fit: a function of human creativity in a seemingly timeless process. Held in the arms of a comforting, lovingly involved consciousness… The moment you move outside this realm, it’s a comparative minefield.
"Serotonin Trope" [18x24] Pastel and colored pencil on paper. I was thinking happiness and I found it.Part of the "Chasing Light" series  ©2014 Randy B. Nutt
"Serotonin Trope"  [18x24"] Pastel and colored pencil on paper, mounted on stretched canvas.
I was thinking happiness and I found it.                                     Part of the "Chasing Light" series  ©2014 Randy B. Nutt
The civilians have stumbled into an entirely different, gogo gadget, constructed superstructure of real and imagined products, where every inch is managed for its monetary value. Indeed, in the ‘free enterprise’ (what’s free about it?) system, not to be pulling for profits, is un-American, counterproductive and …will you please stop bothering us with your overly emotional crap! We have work to do here… Well, so do I.

This system runs so automatically, it seems to be looping in on itself, tighter and tighter. Winding into our lives but strangely removed, as it becomes that same tedious and emotionally repetitive strangling structure, philosophy, corporate religion jihad, dada. Yet, this is thought of as a real world and it is, in that it exists, but I don’t use that world much in being my-(ultra-cool and fashionable)-self!  What I would dearly miss having is a pencil and a piece of paper.

But we have to live in it. Function. Walking through it is like an ironic moment that keeps going. It is very difficult to not morph into a permanent glib state. But that too is destructive and artificial. We need to defend ourselves somehow. You could just pretend it isn’t there. But that is not true. Maybe it’s failed surrealism. Like Dalí’s divine sadness. “This a gallant effort, my friends, but you must be hospitalized emedeately!” One could become a kind of nurse: a psychologist, therapist, with a very long couch or comfy chair, with lots of PILLOWS, augh! Or an astronaut, with a breathing tube and pressurized suit, twisting and turning in Earth’s zero gravity, to get a better view as you drift along in wonder. The Mall Astronaut, circles the Earth in search of good shoes.

If you were to x-ray the different philosophical groups (corporations) that dominate the economical horizon, behind the marketing façade, there are millions of people who deserve better. Forced to abandon their emotional, moral and creative standards and dreams, in order to survive. What might have started as a free exchange of products and ideas, has run amok in tragic, time-tested strategies of psychological warfare. The book The Art of War (a horrifying abuse of customers and one of two books I’ve thrown across the room) is the standard learning tool as corporations do battle with citizens as cannon fodder. Burning up trench lines of money as far as the eye can see.

Nevertheless, there is a real reality that everyone can access.  Art, at its core, has a touching kind of tenderness and innocence. It makes for a good starting point to build ideas or a personal landscape. Like science, in a way, it is a budding, open-hearted curiosity that I find satisfying and endearing. You do research on yourself. There is even the possibility of happiness in it.
The Springflower by F. Rappaport
Detail from "Serotonin Trope" [18x24] Pastel and colored pencil on paper. Part of the "Chasing Light" series, ©2014 Randy B. Nutt
 A long time ago, Carol bought a block print ("The Springflower," by F. Rappaport), a simple line drawing of a girl with a bemused look, glancing at a flower, in a vase, on the table next to her. It’s the happiest picture I’ve ever seen. It makes me happy every time I see it. I think about the artist who made it. They gave happiness but I bet they felt happiness when they made it. That they got there at all, is cool.

I don’t really think about ‘happiness’ that much. It seems a bit goofy to me and possibly insane. On the other hand a certain amount of happiness might be necessary to think and live at all, considering                               T  h  e    w  a  y    t  h  i  n  g  s    a  r  e .  If one wanted to be happy, perhaps it’s achievable. They say the body chemical serotonin (the comical chemical) is responsible for the feel-good feelings. With the proper stimuli, it can be released into our system and happiness will follow. They say, even smiling releases serotonin.

So I tried it. An experiment in happiness: I put down some paper and started smiling (oh god). I thought happy thoughts. I even thought about kittens. And I started drawing. Just moving in to it. All cuddled up in happiness. And to my surprise, there was a kind of happiness that emerged. I felt kind of foolish but I had a good time doing it. Maybe serotonin helps us think logically about the illogical (‘Serotonin’ picture).
There are other really real things. Getting down to an honest creation, even if it’s about deceit, is like writing Genesis. You settle into the idea of creation itself. The void out of which all things come. The imagination of all possibilities and all possible step by step decisions, traced on a timeless line through three dimensional space, as if you were a stranger, reading your own mind. Walking down imaginary streets, without a map. A reporter covers a story without a plot. Thinking there might be something menacing but remembering these are his own thoughts, his own imagination, coming on like a memory. Chatterbox echoes in a visual gift. Semi-human shapes left unresolved, in spite of heroic efforts to organize and install. Now teetering ghost ships wander cubicles and alternative spaces that could not have anything to do with gravity.  

Viewing yourself, as if, through a periscope. Displays with important messages behind them, that cannot be read and maybe shouldn’t. Knowing that they’re there is enough. Unedited history of life, engaged to be disengaged, can make a convincing case for works that are atmospherically confounding but somehow make sense because they portray the reality of this time and place. We are just being carried along. Reminded of how interesting everything is. How valuable. A theme for social change no one could ever really use. But can be an important reminder through the creative act of creation, what is possible without having to be useful. What is utilitarian for well being but has no real value other than it is crucially important. Imagine that!

Randy B. Nutt
October 25, 2014

PS - News Flash! FREE the ART, ART is FREE!
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Pay the shipping (or pick it up in person). Take it home. It’s yours. This is a limited one-time EXCLUSIVE offer, (expires 11/30/2014). Thanks Happy! Giving Happy!  Open a door and take your mind for a walk…
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