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a creative life

  the Work of art
gary e. davis
March 15 , 2019
The artist—scientific or not—works toward the thing to show. Such working toward the work-thing is what I call the Work of art.

One normally regards the work(thing) as autonomous, expressing the artist’s singularity. But actually, the thing is to teach. That’s what the artist has in
mind by presentation.

Normally, one regards the work-thing as something for others to teach about,
not realizing that one’s then teaching what’s there teaching.

The artist stands by her work in silence, facing a question like “What does this mean?” It speaks for itself. Her silence looks to ask, “What does it say to you?” What does it teach?

The artist learns from preserving silence of the Work in the presence of the work. Like the flat surface of a photograph troping a depth of space represented,
the “flat” present of a canvas (or a text—any work) tropes the depth of given
represented (as if the elements of a surface assemblage condense a long continuum of time in which each became part of a future present, hour by hour,
if not day by day). The thing is a trace of the Work, a monumental derivative.
A freestanding combine tropes a freedom of time secreted.

For creativity, a gift of patronage or wealth enough allows doing what one loves “all” the time, and it is heaven, giving free play and interplay tendencies toward (centripetal) and away (centrifugal) from kindredness (consonance), complemen-tarity, congruence, difference, contrast, and dissonance of things and themes— even (for me) plays of conceptions, gaining meta-discursive basis (in the Work) for specifically discursive presents. (An unspoken aspect of the Work is one’s way of organizing stuff that gives resources reserved standing for fruitful employment. You think Rauschenberg’s studio was a mess? No, it had a private rigor, like my “mess” of digital files.)

Yet, creative time might well find fulfillment without showing itself. (Legend has it that J. D. Sallinger continued over decades to write without publishing.) Serenity in results leads to eagerness to begin the next venture. Here, the cycle of Work is enough, like an odyssey that returns without need of recounting before sailing away again.

Why show up? Because the Work wants to speak to its time, and does so through things, playing with and against guild, class, and cultural standards for the sake of enhancing understanding that may advance fruitfulness of others’ freedom?

Semantic compression may be generative by way of audacious grammar, but
not for its own sake. Self-referential auratic pretense (common in creative writing) is pointless for reader/viewer/listener desire to enhance their understanding for advancing fruitfulness of their freedom (not as follower), their lives’ potential.

Lasting work of one’s Work is oriented toward others’ Work to come, not hall-marking its own facility. Sojourning authentically from Work to things requires receptiveness to “Our” Time that’s not about deliverables on deadline.

I recall the reputed path of Ada Lovelace’s “flyology” to “poetical science,” so there’s always a way for inspiration to wholly fly by audacious play.


<—literary sensibility | American humanity—>






  Be fair. © 2019, gary e. davis