Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Well, I'm thinking this is supposed to be the first Tuesday we post thoughts, responses, whatever, to Ted Orland's "The View from the Studio Door." Got the book over the weekend, read through the intro and the first chapter. Like "Art and Fear," I'm finding that I need to read it more than once-
I can't separate my training as a clinical therapist from my reactions to what Ted Orland writes. Initially, some seems so obvious to me- we create (that is what artmaking is, right- creation)because we are more than instinctive beings, like his cat Feather. Feather doesn't theorize about his world, he responds based on genetic programming and learned experiences. He certainly doesn't waste any time contemplating his navel, or other uniquely human activities.
At the risk of flirting with topics that raise some folks' hackles, I was struck by the reference to our human, fallen condition- although he puts it in different terms, asking if our "conscious separation of the world into self and not-self makes it impossible for us immerse ourselves in the totality of experince, and so we try to recapture that totality through our art." My take- creation in the largest sense is a Divine activity- and wasn't that what the conversation between Eve and the snake in the garden was all about, becoming like God? And, wasn't the beginning of "self-consciousness" in the garden? Yes, I think creation in the divine sense is why we make art- as well as resolving issues, emotional release, giving form to our experiences, and making statements about what is important to us. Eleven years in social work has certainly taught me that. And, making art beats the heck out of talk therapy!

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