Monday, October 3, 2011

Drawing like a thoughtful prayer

At the beginning let us state some obvious truths and keep them in mind as if holding a light as we traverse a
confusing refuse dump at night. When someone decided to draw a tree in front of him he would see that this
complex object consist of parts: roots, trunk and a branching limbs forming a crown of foliage. It is [not
“seems” but is] right to reflect that in the drawing. As the drawing progresses more observable elements are
 drawn. The form of each limb grows out of the trunk in such way that there is a thickening at its base and
that should be noted in the picture. Drawing which ignores it betrays disregard of what was clearly in view.
What would be a reason for this disregard? Inattentiveness for one and unwillingness to accept that in
drawing a tree morphologic truth of facts given in view are absolutely obliging. Once we peer down the
 darkness of that refusal nothing commendable sits there. The truth of what the eyes observed is almost
instantly disregarded for one of available “styles” replacing further observations with arbitrary, lame     oversimplifications, cheap decorative stylizations.

                                                                      Piet Mondrian

This is most significant point: when artist makes the decision to turn away from reality and reaches for stylistic
 devices. Somehow the miraculous, infinitely complex mystery of reality was judged here to be insufficient,
spent and lacking newness. That point has to be pounded and pounded again because it is like a pivotal shaft
on which the whole circus-tent of modern art is hinged. After the whole history of observing reality and
depicting it with passionate enamoration a small horde of amateurish barbarians defeated our arts and pitched
 their tawdry tent of modern gimmicks.”Anything but Reality” is the essential guiding slogan of modern art. It
invites everybody who does not know how to draw, has no patience to learn it and is ready to start smearing
and gluing and “collaging” and “having fun”. But the quality of the “fun” is low, no more than child’s satisfaction
at chess where it is agreed he always wins. No matter how silly the elements of the art-piece how are we to
judge it to be trash or masterwork of genius?
Below is a small sample of drawings and engravings showing trees seen with loving eyes, with dedication to
 the truth that traces the unfathomable wisdom which governs their triumphal being.

                                                                       Lucas van Leyden

                                                                    Albrecht Durer

                                                                          Henry Wallis

                                                                    Frederick Leighton

                                                                     Rex Vicat Cole

And a hundred years after Cole drew the tree above we have this most astonishing portrait of live Oak ,called
"Angel Oak" by North Carolina artist Jean LeCluyse.

                                                                          Jean LeCluyse [click the image for an enlargement]