"We may see the beginnings of the reintegration of our culture, a new possibility of the unity of consciousness. If so, it will not be on the basis of any new orthodoxy, either religious or scientific. Such a new integration will be based on the rejection of all univocal findings of reality, of all identifications of one conception of reality with reality itself.”
-- Robert Bellah - Beyond Belief
It is time that contemporary art escaped the confines of postmodernism, as it has eventually escaped the ever narrow conventions of every other system of thought and perception. Postmodernism recognizes the mind-constructed nature of our reality and honors the plurality of approaches inherent in the process of decoding it. Yet, paradoxically, the strength it acquires from its relativism, its flexibility, its cross-pollination of perspectives is in the end its ultimate weakness, as it leads toward never-ending fragmentation, detachment, and ambiguity. The limits of postmodernism lie in its inability to see the greater whole, the interrelated nature of our universe.
The work of any one individual artist is insignificant in isolation from the socio-culturo-political aspects of his or her environment, but more importantly, in isolation from the work of other artists. "Every object of knowledge is already part of a preinterpreted context, and beyond that context are only other preinterpreted contexts" R. Tarnas *.
Michelangelo does not exist outside of context. Art acquires meaning, and implicitly, relevance through its vast web of inner and outer connections. Collective works of art and collective art shows have the ability to transcend our solitary artistic paradigms, our individual approaches to technique and means of expression, allowing us, through our differences, a sense of relatedness with each other, and with the greater world.
A few definitions. 1. Reflective Innovations, Creating Endless Ricercar Communicating Artistic Ricercar 2. <<…“ricercar” was, in fact, the original name for the musical form now known as “fugue." By Bach’s time, the word “fugue” (or fuga in Latin and Italian) had become standard, but the term “ricercar” had survived, and now designated an erudite kind of fugue, perhaps too austerely intellectual for the common ear. A similar usage survives in English today: the word recherché means, literally, “sought out," but carries the same kind of implication, namely of esoteric or high-brow cleverness.>> D.R. Hofstadter ** 3. ricerca (Italian) , a noun that translates into research, quest, investigation, and project. 4. ricercare (Italian) a transitive verb that means to seek, to investigate, or to look for again.
RICERCAR is an artistic “fugue” whose individual voices coalesce through a shared approach to a given area of investigation. Our communal quest is concerned in the short term with the transcendence of traditionally distinct artistic styles. In the long term, we are united by faith in the idea that art can help our minds transcend their inherent limitations and allow us a few glimpses of truth. These ideas were inspired in part by the work of Kurt Gödel (1906-1978), a prodigious mathematician who hinted at the impossibility of simultaneous Consistence and Completeness within a system - the human mind is likely such a system. Hence, the impossibility of an individual artistic paradigm that is an accurate reflection of the whole. Another source of inspiration was the work of Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976), a Nobel laureate in Physics, who pointed out the limitations that are inherent in our process of observation. “We’re not observing nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning” said Heisenberg. Hence, our divergent modes of inquiry lead to various perceptions of reality, to disparate renditions of its Imago (image). The inherent biases present in each individual mind magnify these problems.
The lukewarm relativism of postmodernism does not render itself useful to artistic, social, cultural, and political improvements, hence the postmodern artist often misses the chance to take a stance in the world. In contrast, RICERCAR employs its output toward the benefit of others. It asserts that altruism represents a desirable approach to the world, a holy duty for those touched by the spirit of progressive idealism.
"The Buddhist allegory of “Indra’s Net” tells of an endless net of threads throughout the universe, the horizontal threads running through space, the vertical ones through time. At every crossing of threads is an individual, and every individual is a crystal bead. The great light of “Absolute Being” illuminates and penetrates every crystal bead; moreover, every crystal bead reflects not only the light from every other crystal in the net – but also every reflection of every reflection throughout the universe."
-- D.R. Hofstadter
“The question that was asked long ago, is asked now, and is always a matter of difficulty, is What Is Being?” (Aristotle 384-322, BC) RICERCAR asserts that art can become an epistemological tool, an experiential engine whose thrusts lead toward a novel, more complex understanding of our world. Such understanding honors the rational, the Logos, as it honors the unspoken and the intuitive. It acknowledges the limitations of language and it compensates for it through the addition of acoustic and visual artistic expression. RICERCAR must be experienced, not simply talked about. RICERCAR: Inspired Celebratory Exhibits Reflecting Contemporary Art's Reintegration!
“We shall not seek from exploration
And at the end of our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time”
-- T.S. Eliot
CHAOSMOS - the show
1.The Space: Artists’ Gallery of Seattle www.agofs.com
2. The Time: October 24, 25 & 26.
3. September 20 is the deadline for artist submissions (the earlier, the better)
4. Selection criteria include (an easily perceived) congruence with the theme of the show and an artist’s ability to articulate the link between the art submitted and CHAOSMOS. Be creative, articulation is a broad concept.
5. Artists invited to exhibit will hear from us by October 3. On October 4, we'll get together as a group, talk about the show, and have a little pre-show party.
6. Art history is now.
* Tarnas, R. (1991) The Passion of the Western Mind; ** Hofstadter, D.R. (1979) Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid
*** RICERCAR artists see themselves as part of a creative net that tries to reflect the image of the Whole, through the exploration of the connections between art, self/being, and the world.