Astrophysicists believe that as the farthest flung galaxies of the universe reveal their basic elements to us with a shift towards the red end of the colour spectrum, that this is proof the universe is constantly expanding and these galaxies are receding into the distance from us. Artists since the middle ages have taken to indicating that objects are farther away in their pictures by shifting those objects hues towards the blue end of the colour spectrum.
This apparent contradiction in terms of indicating the distance of something from the observer by shifting its hue in the colour spectrum, speaks more of the differences in these two mediums in which are revealed the distancing, then it does of some paradox.
The cultural arts are something like this. They are all arts, but their individual mediums reveal something unique to us, their observers. Something apparently at first seems paradoxical. It is still common in our age to give a standing ovation to musicians, singers, actors and the like. We revel not only in these artists intent and expressions, but appreciate openly their mastering of their expression of their art. Yet how uncommon the thought that one might clap in front of a painting, regardless even if it is a masterpiece.
Paintings although full of expression, intent and occasionally mastery of their profession, are none the less, not a lifting of the observer up to the level of the mastery we might aspire to. Instead, they are keys to self recognition. Paintings are only for individuals. The ones that will knock you onto your backside or take your breath away, are those that reveal yourself to yourself. They are those that we as observers identify with in some way. The paintings keys may be explicit or simply a means to opening our memories or completing some forgotten train of a thought we had never completed previously. In this way they are revelatory, they don't raise our eyes to something to aspire to, but show us that we are already at that height. That what we understand, is in some aspect, already of ourselves. And as much as applause is always for another, so we wont applaud ourselves nor our own self understanding. Painting only has an audience of one... the one who sees themselves revealed therein. We are never schizo-egotistical enough to applaud a painting.
© GAMcCullough 2014