We are looking into the past to try to renew our enthusiasm and reverence for what art used to be in the times of beauty and light and gentle soulfulness and unobtrusive geometry. But can we really re-create a past, any past. I don’t think so, just like it is impossible to recapture youthful innocence once it is lost, we can not ignore what we have seen and experienced.
So where does art move from the highly placed unemotional, platform of neutrality, namely abstract art, where only conceptualization gave us access to its meaning. No bird splatter turds allowed…pure design, free hand or measured.
We were complacent and ignored the world, we hid in our cozy sterile gallery settings. But the world has impinged on our sensibilities now that it is turning evil and we can no longer ignore the vileness and stupidity of it.
So do artists portray the darkness and return to realism in art. to the purity of technique. No, because that is just another avoidance and escape from being human. To be human artists need to express their emotions, the whole gamut of light to heavy, irony and tears and humour, implicit in them. We can longer stick our heads in the sand and explore the sand particles in detail.
We not only need to cry out at the inequities but give people hope that things can be different.
Do we do that by conceptualizing what symbols and forms to use? No, we do it by being authentic on canvas or in our performance art or installations or videos…we do that by expressing our horror of what we see AND our love for what we know is also there, the magic of life.
In other words, expressionism is back with a new twist, reverence for life anew. Not just self-mastubatory reverence for narrow art of the mind but full bodied explorations of being human.