A View

by cjdown

For an artist, a worldview is a tool or a means, like a hammer in the hands of a mason, and the only reality is the work of art itself. (Osip Mandelstam, Quoted by Ilya Kaminsky, Stolen Air: selected poems of Osip Mandelstam, xxx – xxxi)

What is at stake in a worldview? Meaning. This blog was begun in order to try to honestly assess my practice and my thoughts, a kind of meditation or confession without absolution or exhibitionist thrill.

But, in order to approach this, the motivation of the practice must be brought to light – not what I want to accomplish with my practice, but what drives it. What do I get out of my work that is independent of how it functions outside of the studio?

A worldview implies taking a position from which to view the world. For me, this involves trying to understand both the world at large and my own interior world. These are not separate spheres, but mutually permeable zones of experience.

Although my work has taken many different stylistic forms, at root, I think its most consistent aspect has been the feeling or impulse that feeds it: a kind of grasping towards existence, or a construction of a version of my understanding of existence, that has been approached through various pictorial and material strategies. Is this what Mandelstam is referring to when he speaks of a ‘worldview’?

Whatever “this” is, that is what ought to come out in the work. Why is making my work the best way to occupy myself as a person in this world?