Creating a representational work of art in today’s art world often combines the two main aspects of a human being, the body or tools, materials and technical skills, and the mind, with its creativity and imagination. One might go as far as to say that the act of creating such a work of art, is the closest thing to functioning as a complete human being as we can achieve.
Among the many important aspects of philosophy founded by René Descartes, French mathematician and philosopher, is the theory of the “Mind-body problem” often known as Cartesian Dualism. Descartes, known as the father of Modern philosophy, placed much importance on this metaphysical problem and the question of whether physical sciences can provide a complete account of a humans reality, or if the mind, a non-physical entity, a spirit, a soul, is also part of the equation. Dualism acknowledges these two separate, yet relational aspects of a human being that work together when creating a work of art. Mind and Body.
The aim of this lecture is not to attempt to solve the complex problem of dualism, rather simply to borrow the idea of dualism in order to analyze and celebrate the act of creating a work of art and also in reviewing the works being created today. To help call attention to the two separate yet connected aspects of this process. There are essential similarities in the dualist theory and in the execution of fine art that are worth discussing here.
This year’s focus at TRAC is Imagination, defined as “the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.” This imagination and creativity is developed in the mind, in the spirit. As suggested here in the definition, they are “ideas” outside the physical senses and are non-palpable things. Perhaps these ideas do come from and are based on physical things, however, the realm of imagination and creativity is more clearly linked to the mind and the spirit. Combined with the body or tools, materials and techniques used to create the work, we can draw a parallel to the two-part system of dualism.
The idea of dualism can also be noted when looking at or critically reviewing a work of art. One can do this with both dualist faculties… We can appreciate the body or technical aspects of the work, and often times we are able to also have an emotional response to the work.
Just as there is to date no answer to the Cartesian debate whether we can be decidedly pure matter or if we have a spirit, there are similar issues when reviewing a contemporary work of art. A finished painting itself is a conundrum of dualism, was it completed purely by mechanical means or was there a soul or spirit involved?
Vanessa Françoise Rothe has served as the West Coast Editor for Fine Art Connoisseur magazine for the last 16 years and is now working for American Art Collector & American Fine Art Collector. She has recently been hired as curator and director for the New California Museum of Fine Art Opening in LA 2020. Rothe is proud to have curated over 15 successful fine art exhibitions with top international artists at important museums and galleries such as Realism Without Borders and Americans in Paris. Vanessa is proud to have presented lectures on art history and Fine Art at such venues as the Laguna Art Museum, the Salmagundi Art Club, The Grande Chaumiere Atelier in Paris. Rothe currently owns and runs Vanessa Rothe Fine Art Gallery in California. Rothe is also a fine artist exhibiting the last 17 years alongside the Nations top artists in galleries, art clubs, as well as Museums. An Artist Member of the famed Salmagundi Art Club New York, a Signature member of the American Impressionist Society as well as its Educational Director. Vanessa had her classical fine art training at Laguna College of Art and Design.
More Info found at www.vanessarothefineart.com