Chicago’s Art Institute is featuring an international French Impressionism exhibit this month. Tens of thousand of visitors will see the works of the French greats from the late 19th C, but they will miss your works [mine too for that matter]. This is because you and I haven’t created any masterpieces. And yet, are you and I not masters of impressionism every day….?
By impressionism here I mean the way we consistently see and express our world the only way we know how — according to our own very personal impressions of it. Say the thousand different ways the fans in the stands will recount that last big hockey or football score. Admit it, my fellow impressionists, reality exists behind the eyes!
If you don’t care to take my opinion I can understand. But what about Plato? Yeah, that Plato of ancient Greek renown. His “cave tale” was one of the first of countless descriptions of how we frail humans fail to see the real reality. In his metaphor, that was the world outside the cave in which humanity lives seeing that world only as the shadows it casts on their prison’s cave wall. Over the centuries most every discipline — from philosophy to psychology to biology — has taken a crack at decoding this tangled web we’ve weaved.
So if you happen to be in the Institute this month, study the people studying Monet and Manet. Most likely they will, like you, savor the engaging way in which the remarkable smears and strokes and dots on that canvass somehow leaps out at you with such startling meaning. Just remember…that meaning is their meaning not necessarily the artist’s or yours or the modernist standing next to you with a frown.
One world…seven billion people crowing it…seven billion impressions of just about everything and everyone we share on this planet. Ya wonder how can we ever all get along. Oh wait…we don’t! More’s the pity, because it’s getting more dangerously crowded all the time….
Filed under: Uncategorized