Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Waterfall And The Fountainhead


Waterfall, 24" x 18", oil on plastic sheeting, 2013.

An excerpt from The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand: "The few whose names had lived were really imposters, expropriating the glory of the people as others expropriated its wealth. When we gaze at the magnificence of an ancient monument and ascribe its achievement to one man, we are guilty of spiritual embezzlement. We forget the army of craftsmen, unknown and unsung, who preceded him in the darkness of the ages, who toiled humbly -- all heroism is humble -- each contributing his small share to the common treasure of time. A great building is not the private invention of some genius or other. It is merely a condensation of the spirit of a people."

Maybe this principle applies to art and painting. It seems that art evolves with society and the great number of artists among us. We like to applaud names like Michelangelo, Van Gogh, and Picasso. These are the outliers, the few who found themselves at a moment of circumstances, chosen to sit upon the beacons in our timeline of artistic achievements. They did not work like hermits in a cave; they needed the people. 

As an ant colony moves nests, it marches as one, with each individual carrying a load. If one ant dies along the way, it matters not, as the mass as a whole still gets to where it's going, like a cloud in the sky.

You can't stop the clouds from moving.

Or maybe there were indeed geniuses nonetheless.