Saturday, January 20, 2007

From Here to Apostasy

So many of the talented figure sculptors I have followed in the 20th C. have bitterly disappointed me. Unlike today's art students -- many got to study with world-class masters -- but when the artworld tanked in the 50's and 60's, they went down with the ship.

But Gerald Laing, who had an early career as a Pop-artist , went the other direction -- and professes his conversion to the path of truth and light here.

After spending time with writers and engineers and others whose creativity I admired, but who could not, with the best of will, get as much from my work as I could from theirs, I had to face the fact that my system of communication was at fault. I realized that if I was not to be marginalized then I must make fundamental changes. An epiphany occurred when one dawn in 1973, after a long party, I found myself standing contemplating the Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Comer in London.

I realized then that no abstract art could contain a fraction of the love, passion, pain, pride, sorrow, beauty and acceptance that this great work of art effortlessly projects. It is intricate and grand, of its time and timeless, so abstract and formal, so realistic and human, sprung from the great tradition and yet new-born.

Isn't this a sweet thing to say ? I love this guy !

At last I understood that the process of creation, the aesthetics of form and composition which give this monument its strength and staying power are the artist's essential tools. They are the means by which these qualities are achieved to make concrete and convincing the content of the work; they are not an end in themselves, but their quality governs the quality of the work. They are the artists' business, or rather it is the artist's business to master them; but they need not necessarily even be apparent. It is the re-stating by each generation of the same truths and perceptions which must be the main purpose of an artist's endeavor, so that in each generation they are once more accepted, and the fact that this has been done repeatedly is understood and becomes a source of comfort and a means of orientation, a lifebelt in the chaos.

And.. on top of all these fine words .. I even like some of his work -- like the above garden statue and the monument to Sherlock Holmes. But why doesn't he show more of it on his own web page ? Why does he emphasize his -- gulp ! --- recent political-cartoon-paintings ?

Perhaps we'll have to post an inquiry to 211B Baker Street to solve this puzzle.

(Robert has found a piece of the puzzle here ,revealing, perhaps, a highly eccentric temperament)


Anonymous Joy In Life said...

What a delightful find, Mr. Miller. He clearly articulates some thoughts that have swum wordless in my brain! Ah, light and truth. I especially enjoy the touch on - I don't think he uses the word but I infer it - anatomy as a tool, not an end.

How do your terracotta heads progress? Will you be showing them to us?

January 21, 2007  
Anonymous marly said...

Light and truth: watchwords of Amanda...

I also like this humility before art, and how he comes to see that art is not about progress.

January 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree seriously defective website. He is a new one on me too, I agree with joy in life great find Chris.

January 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had a longer look; it is the lack of images and size of what is there that is defective, but it is rectified by the wonderful "copy".

His story is worthy of a book, his bravery deserves a medal; I must see more of his art.

January 22, 2007  
Anonymous marly said...


Look! You and the wife can go stay in the little stone cottage by the castle...

January 23, 2007  

Post a Comment

<< Home