Recap of our Journey and My Art Process
For those of you who haven’t been following our exploration of southern Utah or my art, yesterday we visited Bryce Canyon, and I was able to include photographs from our journey in the post that will be posted today 6/11/20. The post I’m writing today will be released tomorrow. Today we are visiting the Grand Canyon!
Yesterday I wrote about the parallels that I noticed from Parowan Gap and the Italian Renaissance Humanism. And yes I realize that the mindset of the humanist Italians were very different from those of the indiginous people of ancient Utah.
However, the point of the article was for me to help explain my thought process in my own artwork and to form a legitimate basis for combining landscapes from Southern Utah with figures from the Italian Renaissance.
I wrote about how Poliziano in his epic poem The Stanze, used contemporary figures, such as Simonetta and Giuliano de Medici, to represent classical figures, Venus and Mars respectively. And how Sandro Botticelli painted them as such.
According to Politziano the humanist tradition is to imitate the old masters, and to add your own voice. Thus when Poliziano imitates a variety of literary sources, when he describes the flashing eyes of Simonetta, he is recapitulating the figure. And recalling to the attention of the reader all of the artists in the past, in a continuous chain. That’s why it is so important for the reader to understand the sources that Poliziano and Botticelli are citing. If the reader wishes to be a part of the humanist artistic tradition.
At Parowan Gap there is a similar tradition of adding to the record, and there is a tradition of artwork as an expression of the divine.
Bryce Canyon in My Artwork
Bryce Canyon as far as I know does not contain any record of Native American art, however there is still a sense of gravity to the place. As with Parowan Gap, Bryce Canyon speaks for itself. Had the ancient people of Parowan Gap never come to the Parowan Valley, the sun at the equinox would still set in the middle of the Parowan Gap, regardless of there being no people there to record it in stone. It was this fact that made the location sacred to its people. Likewise Bryce Canyon would still be full of color and beauty even if there were no people to see it.
The Bryce Canyon pamphlet is full of scientific information about how the interesting rock formations were created over the course of millions of years. The bulbous formations, called Fins, Windows, and Hoodoos, are made possible because of their high elevation. About 180 days a year temperatures swing widely between freezing nights and warm afternoons. The combination of gravity and meltwater causes soil creep, moving the stone fragments downhill. Rain from summer thunderstorms further dissolves the limestone into a clay ooze and generates just enough flowing water to help remove the debris.
Just like the people of Parowan Gap, you can choose to see this remarkable scientific process as evidence of a divine presence who created these formations for his, or our, enjoyment. Or as just a random combination of events that caused random beauty.
For me the existence of beauty, and our ability to appreciate it, elevates my mind toward the divine.
Because of this, I believe that it is fully appropriate to use these sacred landscapes in my artwork as a contemporary backdrop.
Bryce Canyon Speaks for Itself
I think it is important to emphasize that I want to use these landscapes, not only because they are beautiful, but because of the fact they speak for themselves.
For example, I am currently planning a piece of artwork that draws from Botticelli’s Venus and Mars painting. Venus in The Stanze represents a calming taming force in mankind and even in nature itself. In my painting I include Marse/Julio he is in the same pose as in Boticelli’s painting, however he is alone. There is no Venus in the painting. Instead I want the backdrop to be a Southern Utah scene. Mars’ face is at peace, turned upward as if contemplating the divine. He has been transformed as in The Stanze by the nature, which represents Love in the case of my art. The Love of a God who created the beauty of the world.
I’m not certain if I am entirely satisfied with the imagery of this painting, yet. And I’m not sure if it fully explains what I’m trying to convey. But it is a work in progress.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Please take a moment to share it on Facebook and Twitter. Leave your comments below to let me know what you think. Check out my other works on my portfolio.