t is said that butterflies come into the world, one generation at a time. Each solar cycle the whole species learns anew and discovers its' world without the guiding help of tradition nor heritage. Somewhere in their genes is all they need to live in the world.
Chimps have demonstrated the capacity to learn and apprehend. They do discover and invent unique responses to their pressing questions of the world. It's surmised that although we and chimps share a significant number of genes, that humanity differentiates itself from the chimps in being able to point. That we are able to accumulate and transmit our understanding and insights across generations because we are able to imagine triangulation. That we can teach to others as we can point to something and the relationships between the pointer, the pointed and the observer are grasped as a shared triangulation.
We can literally point something out as the viewer has the innate capacity to realize the as of yet unrecognized relationship it has to that which is pointed to. I point to something and you understand it is the subject of our exchange. Probably this is possible only through a displaced mimicry - being able to imagine ourselves in the others position. Regardless, that we can point to something and also understand the significance of another's pointing gesture, allows humanity to accumulate shared knowledge and develop culture
Painting too operates upon this triangulation of understanding. Its' beauty is different from natures in that the beauty being shared with us via another is pointed to across time. Its been deliberately set there for us a stranger to consider. Without being able to triangulate ourselves in order to grasp the insight being presented, we'd never be able to contemplate arts significance. The artist is in many ways simply pointing, saying, “Look, do you see what I see?” Pointing gestures take many forms, sometimes the gestures are left as traces and marks upon the medium being used.
And although art may have significant insights to teach us, more often, it is as simple as the privileging of the wonder of the world around us.
© GAMcCullough 2012