The Outward Form of the Inward Search

In 1987 I traveled to my mother’s country, England, to visit family in London. After kissing my grandparents goodbye, I traveled southwest to Devon and Cornwall. I was 27. I had just finished grad school where I had studied arts administration. I was visiting England with the eyes of a writer, eager to meet artists, particularly women artists, whom I could in some small way help promote through writing articles.

One sunny day in Cornwall, I had the good fortune to meet two women artists who invited me back to their home. I was enchanted by the gardens, the picturesque bungalow surrounded by flowers. It was the ideal setting for creativity to flourish and yet, even in this magnificent garden of Eden, where time seem to have remained put the 19th century, what struck me were these lines written by ‘Anonymous’ propped up on it’s own small window by the bay window :

‘Art is fundamentally the outward form of an inward search.’

Art is not concerned merely with great artists, with genius or with prodigious skills. It is, fundamentally, the outward form of an inward search. To participate in this search, on whatever level and with whatever ability, is to be an artist. The equipment of the artist is not found in art shops only, but in his attitude of mind, in his vision, and in his emotions. It is of supreme unimportance whether the artist is possessed of some dazzling vision, like Samuel Palmer in the valley of Shoreham, or whether he paints almost as a matter of amusement with whatever materials that happen to be at hand, like old Alfred Wallis of St Ives – the important thing, the thing which links all artists together, is the search.

Works of art, sometimes good and sometimes bad, are the outward evidence of this search. But the work of art is really of secondary importance – it is merely the crystallisation of an idea or emotion, and a correct understanding of art must take this fact into account.

The true importance of art lies in its alchemical nature, in its strange power to refine the sensibilities, to heighten visual awareness. This evolution of the spirit is the true aim of art, and anyone who embarks on this spiritual odyssey bears the name of artist.

The practice of art is not directed towards producing artists who can paint or sculpt with realiability, nor toward producing more works to fill our homes and galleries: it is directed towards producing human beings with a sense of wonder at life and that precious ability to enquire into its outward manifestations.”

Thank you dear anonymous for eloquently expressing what Genesis Art is essentially about:
The outward form of an inward search! This journey to England in 1987, just before traveling to Japan, helped me in unimaginable ways. It became the gift of a lifetime. I did not foresee that I would become an artist. Or that I would take these anonymous words to heart.

On this trip I met Beryl Coles from Plymouth, whose glorious embroidery, pictured here, was featured in my story about her for Fiberarts Magazine.

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