Art is the impulse to replicate the mystery of woman and the beauty of the female principle. As the drive for creative expression, art is fundamentally a male-induced phenomenon and why the great masters of art have been predominantly male. Artistry, however, combines both male and female principles and is the essence of what the ancient Greeks intuited as mimesis, the fluidity of eternal ideas being imitated or physically reproduced in the sensory world. An example of art and artistry is clearly visible when comparing the hard structural art of medieval Christian churches with the sensual artistry in mosques and mosaics of the Islamic faith.
At its grandest, art is the impersonal element in the civilising process and an aspect of cosmic consciousness. The movement is always towards the ideal, the quintessence of excellence. The greater the creative genius of the artist, the more that circumstances will test the resolve and virtue of the life. In whatever he gains in terms of worldly success, an artist can never realise the totality of his art. He can realise aspects of it, but never the completed picture. It’s this seeming distance or separation from the source of love that causes eccentric behaviour or (most famously in the case of Van Gogh) to mutilate himself in an effort to placate his pain and connect with the source of his inspiration. A real artist borders on the line of the madman or schizophrenic. Like the mystic, he can experience heightened sensations or have inner visions when receptive to humanity’s mythic origins.
In our modern culture art is created primarily to cause a reaction – as much to repulse as to be admired. As long as a creative work can reach an audience and gain some kind of critical awareness, then it is deemed worthy of being called ‘art’ in the public domain. But is it really art or has the virtue of the creative spirit been superseded by a phoney art fixated on the pain and sterility of the world? Art, indeed, must reflect the times so it’s no real surprise that, in this deeply material age, modern art has mostly abstracted itself from nature and images of the sacred earth. Romance and love, the inspiration behind all art, has been replaced by self-interest and greed. The art world is controlled by a group of pseudo-intellectuals who preen the feathers of celebrity artists to generate the financial interest from museums, investors and collectors. It’s no longer the quality of the art but how much it is worth. Real art is priceless since it is impossible to quantify.
True art retains its character through virtue of its originality. The finest expression of art is created for art’s sake. In other words, the artist transcends any personal limitations in his refusal to compromise his art unto death. Art has now been superseded in the world by a pale replica of what was once the artistry of being a man or woman. But the truth is that man and woman are born to create. We are creating every moment as life and spirit in material physical bodies. The art forms through which so many people express their creativity are the earnest endeavour to give meaning to the struggle of humanity to make sense of their world.
We human beings are co-creators with the source of life but have mostly forgotten our creative origins and the purpose of being in existence. Consequently, art today has little purpose except as a means to validate the pain of the artist to establish their identity in the world. Nevertheless art has its place for deeply embedded in every artist is the original impulse to communicate the essence of love. Love is the finest communication, which heightens receptivity and negates the need for personal interpretation. Supreme art edifies the consciousness, enabling the individual to have direct experience of the artistry in the moment. Thus, in the presence of great art the mind becomes still. With the senses keenly focused and alert, the work of art communicates its timeless reality.
Sacred art is the negation of both artist and viewer as having any need to exist. It is the sublime orgasmic fusion of life and death, and the convulsion of the atom as intelligence in matter. Only love made in the flesh can approach such intensity of beauty and original creative freedom. This is the divine art that destroys the personal element that sullies the work of any artist still attached to the glamour of the world. The formless love within the artist is the perfection that all art endeavours to replicate. To merge with this beauty is completion: the ‘knowledge without knowing’ of the sublime artistry of life. For this the artist must eventually put his brushes down or put his instrument back in its case.