(of Artistic Concerns) Cecil Orion
We all love beauty
yet, such a distinction causes
us to disdain much as ugliness.(1)
We all like to appreciate what
is good in life.
Yet this causes us to reject much
Something and nothing give a place
to each other,
like figure and ground.
High and low enrich each other
like soprano and bass.
To prefer one at the expense of
the other would be foolishness.(2)
Therefore the mastercraftsman acts
upon what the circumstance calls
and, in so doing, eliminates choice-making.
In this way he follows exactly
the flow of harmony
without imposing his will.
(1) There is beauty of form, of
color, of line, of manner, of character. In some persons beauty is lacking,
in other persons there is more of it; it is only the comparison that makes
us think that one person is better than the other. If we did not compare,
then every person would be good; it is the comparison which makes us consider
one thing more beautiful than another. But if we looked more carefully
we should see the beauty that is in that other one too. Very often our
comparison is not right for the very reason that although today we determine
in our mind what is good and beautiful, we are liable to change that conception
in a month's, a year's time. That shows us that when we look at something,
we are capable of appreciating it if its beauty manifests to our view.
(2) The realization that reason and
anti-reason, sense and non-sense, design and chance, consciousness and
unconsciousness, belonged together as necessary parts of a whole this
was the central message of DADA."
...Beauty deprived of its proper foils
and adjucts ceases to be enjoyed as beauty, just as light deprived of all
shaddow ceases to be enjoyed as light. A white canvas cannot produce the
effect of sushine; the painter must darken it in some places before he
can make it look luminous in others; nor can an uninterrupted succession
of beauty produce the true effect of beauty; it must be foiled by inferiority
before its own power can be developed. Nature has for the most part mingled
her inferior and noble elements as she mingles sunshine with shade, giving
due use and influence to both...
It is only by the habit of representing
faithfully all things, that we can truely learn what is beautiful, and
what is not. The ugliest objects cantain some elements of beauty; and in
all it is an element peculiar to themselves, which cannot be seperated
from their ugliness, but must either be enjoyed together with it or not
at all. The more a painter accepts nature as he finds it, the more unexpected
beauty he discovers in what he at first despises; but once let him arrogate
the right of rejection, and he will gradually contract his circle of enjoyment,
until what he supposed to be nobleness of selection ends in narrowness
of perception. Dwelling perpetually upon one class of ideas, his art becomes
at once monstrous and morbid; until at last he cannot faithfully represent
even what he chooses to retain; his descrimination contracts into darkness,
and his fastidiousness fades into fatuity.
Ruskin; The Lamp of Beauty;Writings on Art,page 79-80