Artist’s Journal: NUMBER 77

Authenticity in Art. Is It That Important?


All truths are easy

to understand once

they are discovered;

the point is to discover them.

Galileo Galilei

Starting way-back in time – 10,000 years ago – the fire circles of our Paleolithic ancestors mimicked the shape and the path of the Sun, the Moon. The palm of the human hand, perhaps more so than the thumb or any of the fingers did more to advance and make the world of the right-brained visible to the community. 

If you take mud or wet clay and bounce it in your cupped hand – it becomes a sphere. Think of what spheres and circles represent – life – the Sun, the Moon and the stars. Perception and Truth in eastern cultures is circular; cyclical, and repetitive.

Things are not always what they first appear to be. Western culture thinks and acts in more of a linear fashion, Vertical lines represent one axis and symbolize male-ness. Horizontal lines represent horizons, paths and symbolize female-ness. In the more circular logic of the East, it is more about cause and effect. For example, Nature affects human affairs and human behavior finds response in Nature  – it is what is referred to as correlative resonance. 

Representation is a portrayal of a person, place or thing. While symbolism is an expression that represents or suggests ideas, emotions or a state of mind. Our perceptions, whether circular or linear evolve with the addition of knowledge and experience. Truth is not always about absolutes. It’s more about consensus or conformity which sometimes overrides physical and immutable facts or reality.

Reality is perception.  Our perceptions sometimes require verification.  The verification must remain indisputable in order to be considered truth. Authenticity! Being authentic; true – not false. Original – not copied. Something whose origin is unquestionably supported by evidence.

Evidence?  Verification of its true nature or belief. That’s why unauthentic art  stands out, and not for a good reason. Mark Twain said, “There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.” 

LV #1-2016
LV #1-2016

Helene Hegemann, a German writer, director, and actress said, “There’s no such thing as originality, only authenticity.” I don’t duplicate images from nature.  Instead, I create subjective images.  I prefer to think of my paintings as things, objects or icons, rather than representative of things.

I am an abstractionist. The reality of my work is in its perception. It doesn’t matter what I wanted or what I was thinking. It does matter thought who is looking at, studying, scrutinizing or appreciating the work. The work, whether an entire body of it or a single piece, doesn’t require a declared verification. However, that verification becomes indisputable when and if the work is possessed either physically – through a purchase or, with expressed, genuine appreciation.

There is a holy trinity – if you will allow – to authenticity or authentication and that is, 1.) the intent of the artist, 2.) the work itself and, 3.) the viewer’s unbiased reaction. In order to be considered truthful or authentic the work must remain true and not false.

Artists feel they have to be original. They do not want to create a copy of someone else’s work or concept or style. Being conscious of this drives me to be as truthful to myself as to what I’m hoping to accomplish than anything else. Picasso said, “We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.”

And I ramble on in search of the truth and authenticity!

Posted on: 10/09/2016, by :
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