Monday, November 19, 2012

Trivial Things As Doubleplusungood

Alfred Sisley (30 October 1839 – 29 January 1899) was an Impressionist landscape painter who was born and spent most of his life in France, but retained British citizenship. He was the most consistent of the Impressionists in his dedication to painting landscape en plein air (i.e., outdoors). He never deviated into figure painting and, unlike Renoir and Pissarro, never found that Impressionism did not fulfill his artistic needs.

Alfred Sisley
at Wikipedia

Perceptual analysis in the 20th century has shown that at any given moment we see only a small amount. The movement of the eye gives us a bigger picture, which we assemble with memory in our heads. We see with memory. Is there not now a big contradiction between our millions of images and the way we actually see the world? Knowledge of visual perception made in the 20th century is surely having an effect. I began to be bored with the image on TV a long time ago. It was an instinct that realized this was nobody’s view of the world, an unhuman view of it. I remember seeing a Disney cartoon of the 40s about elephants in Africa. It was a drawn film about their lives, not humorous like Dumbo, but a beautifully observed picture of them moving—slowly because of their weight. I said to a friend who was watching it with me that it was far more interesting to look at than photographs of elephants, even moving photographs. Why? Because the drawn one was an account of seeing by a human being. Is this not really all that is possible for humans?

David Hockney
writing in “Secret Knowledge”

This is a painting of a train station
painted by one of the original
loose group of friends called the Impressionists:

On one hand it seems like a normal view
because we see things like this all the time—
A building at the top of a small hill,
simple perspective causing the roof lines
to angle down toward the horizon line.

On the other hand the Impressionists
almost always minimized perspective
or eliminated it completely
by reducing a view to frontal planes
stacked one on top of another for depth.

So depending on how you look at this,
this image is either normal or strange.

I can’t stop thinking about it because
it wasn’t until I saw this image
that I realized how consistently
Impressionist works flattened perspective.

It seems such a trivial thing to do—
Just moving a bit to the left or right,
or drawing a line straight that you see tipped.

It seems such a trivial thing to do
but the Impressionists almost always
moved a bit or evened things out a bit
and their paintings, for a while, changed the world.

Then still cameras changed everything back.

And movie cameras nailed it in place.

Tipped lines stay tipped now. Station points don’t move.

It seems such a trivial thing to do—
Just moving a bit to the left or right,
or drawing a line straight that you see tipped.

I wonder why technology got mad?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

That painting is
Train Station at Sevres
by Alfred Sisley. I wonder
if Sisley was more inclined
than other Impressionists
to include explicit perspective
in his otherwise canonical
impressionist paintings
because of the
British component
to his upbringing.

of course is Newspeak


Boys And Girls And David Hockney

“Ah, That Renaissance Sunshine”

All The Issues Of Perspective

The Best Reason To Study Astrophysics

Et In Arcadia Ego

Fons Et Origo

Cordon Sanitaire

1 comment:

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