abstract art, a systems view

Does Analysing Stunt Creativity?

with 4 comments

Does Analysing Stunt Creativity?.

Rachael Pinks asks an important question and comments on the relationship between what in NLP and Self Relations we might refer to as ‘cognitive mind’ and ‘somatic mind’.

It could be argued that technology separates cognitive thinking and somatic doing, attempting to mediate them by inserting ‘controlling’. Capitalism arranges them hierarchically, with thinking at the top, doing at the bottom and controlling in the middle.  ‘thinkers’ have power and wealth, whilst ‘doers’ generally lack both.

I want to say that art integrates thinking and doing, though I am aware that it is not always the case, take conceptual art for example, are not thinking and doing often separated along exactly the same lines as in capitalist production?


Written by Andy Parkinson

November 17, 2011 at 8:00 am

4 Responses

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  1. I think there are artists who come at it from their right brains and other artists who live mainly in their left brains. Art can sometimes be a great puzzle to solve, involving all kinds of mathematical and structural considerations. Other times it can be a way to convey emotion or a sense of play. So my short answer is that one doesn’t rule out the other.

    Martha Marshall

    November 17, 2011 at 1:35 pm

  2. For me, I see art as the place where we can experiment and experience approaches to engaging with our reality as it is filtered, first through our perceptions, and then through our manipulations of our materials, and then back into further perceptions. It is a training ground and a research lab for these fundamental interactions.

    This has led me to look at what’s often called “thinking and doing” in ways that turn them around from our common expectations.

    When I’m working I look for creating situations where my doing makes decisions and my thinking happens out of my conscious awareness.

    Confronting a painting in this way removes intention and striving from my actions. Intention is reduced to the focusing of attention on the arena of the surface. What happens there is as much as possible the result of somatic doing, and it is not consciously analyzed, but it is reflected on over time and those reflection, left deliberately inchoate and unexpressed verbally, then inform the next action.

    This makes for a staccato rhythm of work. There is spontaneous action, followed by long periods of looking and absorbing, punctuated by “sleeping on it,” that leads to further spontaneous action. This seems to match the “mechanics” of oil painting; the long dry times, the subtle changes as the paint settles in and our perceptions evolve over time to the novelty that arises there.

    Anyway, This isn’t the place to lay out a working method! Just find an interesting point of contact with what is going on here!

    Antonio Dias

    November 17, 2011 at 3:01 pm

  3. Thanks Martha and Antonio for your comments

    Martha, I wonder if the left brain/right brain distinction might have some correspondence to the cognitive/somatic mind distinction (as it might also conscious/unconscious) and yes I agree with you that the point is to integrate them, for which both are important and neither one more important than the other.

    Antonio, I think your description of the process is insightful, I wonder if it is correct to think of it as a dialogical approach to painting, it is a kind of conversation between the artist and the art, and it involves both conscious and unconscious processes where thinking and dong are integrated?

    Andy Parkinson

    November 18, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    • Andy,

      That’s it exactly! Art provides us with the most concentrated form of dialogue – anything with fewer participants would be a monologue!

      This turns it into a practice, something we can do individually, but in a way that provides a vessel for communication with others. As with any dialogue, it results in connections between those who might otherwise be seen as merely “others.”

      It is definitely an integrative practice, both for the integration of the artist’s organism, and also as an integrative focal point between people and within society.

      Of course for this to flourish, we need to find a way to value this aspect and not be derailed into art as an ego trip or as a way to get rich – or simply a way to starve quietly out of sight!

      Antonio Dias

      November 18, 2011 at 7:46 pm

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