The point is not, however, that the strongest or most unusual personality makes the strongest or most unusual art. The process is more elusive than that. It depends on a willingness to hand over one’s emotions or feelings to the work of art, to allow one’s personality to float away from one and lodge in form. It is with this peculiar process that impersonality comes into play, for the artist must be willing to allow the feelings to take on a life of their own, and perhaps more important for the artist than the particular character or quality of a feeling are the feelings about that feeling, an ease with one’s feelings, an equanimity about one’s own feelings. All the artists of any consequence whom I’ve known have been to a certain degree detached from the emotional character of their work, as if this were some difficult feeling, some strange emotional weather that they had made their peace with, that they had allowed to take its place in the autonomous world of form. Jed Perl Antoine’s Alphabet: Watteau and His World
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Art is the necessity of the unnecessary, a daydream reshaped through the imperatives of the painter’s rectangle of canvas. And the power of certain great paintings, no matter how much self-conscious craft the artist brings to the work, is the quality of a daydream, an orchestration of elements whose meaning remains ambiguous or contradictory. The fascination of such a painting is directly related to the fascination of daydreams, for we do not necessarily want to know what they mean so much as we want to linger over them, sink into the luxuriant satisfactions of such fantasies, although we can also be alarmed or even repelled by their power. In daydreams meaning is never fixed. Jed Perl Antoine’s Alphabet: Watteau and His World.