unharboring from the familiar

Posted: June 24, 2011 in beautiful

So many thoughts; so many ideas to chew on and maybe swallow.

As I ambled through the Museo de Artes de Puerto Rico today, I came across the following one.  Puerto Rican’s artists remained sheltered, provincial and traditional through the first half of the 20th Century, artists like Campeche, Pou y Becerra  and Oller, then changed.

In the 1970’s Puerto Rico artist began to struggled for independence from the aesthetic paradigm of social realism and representational painting.

I like the struggle: sheltered in familiarity or open to new movements.

Campeche was traditional, old European; Ángel Botello modern.

Both are good; I like the Botellos.

I like being taught, I value many traditions, but I jump up and down over change when change is needed, especially in art and everything else in the world, and I like to see in a fresh way.

Consider the two paintings to the right. The Campeche woman is classical, in robes, European, religious, idealized yet muted. Campeche painted a world he loved, but in somebody else’s style.

The Botello is Carribean, everyday, personal, ordinary, vibrant. He painted his own everyday world, a world he loved, his family and  he painted it his own way.

Botello developed his own style; Campeche borrowed his from Alcazar, a Spanish court painter banished to Puerto Rico.

Being taught is good; so is being creative, original, inventive, new. We need both, but I think a real danger is to get stuck in tradition, and many people I know, including my own dear and unoriginal self, are stuck with familiarity. What to do?

I think some of ous are being called, by all that is aestheic and good and holy to unharbor more and sail into the sparkling waters of our own visions.

And once we have come nearly to the surface of those, to work them, jump on them, to dive into the center of our sparkling confabulations, to fearlessly throw ourselves into the original, originality of the original us. This will require something, that we be wild and crazy and confident and risky.

But if not, then how will we ever write that uniquely needed song of love and beauty or paint that new and fresh vision of that bright red girl on her little tricycle and paint too, her not-watching mother.

Some of us have been stupidly and persistently and patently safe and it must stop.

Life needs more red paint, and bright yellow too.

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