“It’s hard to know which is more astonishing: that the visible sliver of the universe should betray the unseen structure of the entirety, or that the human mind, by studying that sliver, could begin to reconstruct all the rest.” (Sight Unseen, by Kathryn Schulz, The New Yorker, April 13, 2015) http://tinyurl.com/m3j35k6
I’m just finishing up a drawing course called “Drawing the Invisible”, or it could be “Drawing on the Invisible”, which might make even more sense. I do draw the invisible, of course (the viewer, you, infers with excellent precision, for example, what is on the other side of the balls of yarn in the painting below, or what is on the far left of the painting "Winter Light"), and I also draw on the invisible: my intuition, the stuff that holds the world together, the hugely important bits that we cannot see: molecules, the smell of the rain, the memory of last fall or the anticipation of next September.
What do you “reconstruct” in the scene below? I have, after all, painted only the tiniest sliver of what I actually “saw”. Do you reconstruct the physical world? My emotional state? The day that came before this one? Do you perceive forms that aren’t “really” there? The endings of lines that I’ve only begun? A start to a new story?
Schultz writes about the "dangerous allure" of invisibility, and the desires that compel people toward it. She writes that Plato would have banished artists from his Republic because they distort truth rather than help us better understand it. She ends her piece with this: The whole realm of the visible is compelled by the invisible. Our planet, our solar system, our galaxy, our universe: all of it, all of us, are pushed, pulled, spun, shifted, set in motion, and held together by what we cannot see.
I am powerfully and precisely drawn to this: to making the felt world visible, the breeze, the smells, the textures, the chaos and the beauty within, without, behind, in front of and all around, to that which holds us together, invisibly. Aren't we all? Can we -- artists, musicians, linguists, writers -- possibly not be compelled by this?
With thanks again to my wonderful teacher, Steven Nesheim, who inspires via the visible and the ephemeral. http://www.stevenesheim.com/about.html