Painting with Nature

...A new generation of artists is taking a radical step based on the knowledge obtained in their own time. They are leaving the studio and going outdoors. There they get a whole new view, begin to perceive things in a completely different way. They learned from nature. And it revealed to them secrets and laws, showed them that reality was not static, but rather constantly changing. The link between nature and painting was established in an antimimetic way: to paint nature does not mean to literally transpose its forms, but rather to paint like nature. In that moment everything changes and a whole new artistic method is created, which is the fruit of the oceanic feeling of a man who is one with the universe. In the painting, matter with an open structure, soaked in senses, impulses, joy and sorrows is created. It is organized on the surface spontaneously, reflexively and surprisingly. It becomes a reality in itself, created in the same way as anything in nature is created. Although the rational follows the painting process, the constant surprises suddenly change plans and the road goes into the unknown, where man finds his primeval freedom.

 

The process of instinctive registering of change led to the method of insistence on the working process. The result was always a surprise, for both the authors and the spectator. The “enthusiasm of the spirit” was dazzled by the freedom nature was offering it, contrary to the culturological and civilizational burden shouldered by artists, which is omnipresent in today’s art, too. One learns from nature, not from previous arts. It is as if they wanted to speak the words of Bozidar Mandic, that art resembling art is not art all. It must be created like any being in nature, new, fresh and beautiful.

 

This spiritual momentum connected man and nature. It brought salvation to artists. They were trying to weave the power and harmony they had discovered in nature into a new painting system that had its own language, the language of pure painting. It was made of the organization of painted stains on the flat surface of the canvas. Into them, the painter with their reflex wove the power and harmony they felt in nature, intuitively, sensually and directly. All those dimensions of a painter’s being, which had until then been blocked by rationality, are activated. The phenomenon, defined much later by John Cage with the sentence, “I don’t learn, things happen to me,” occurs. Yielding as a strategy was imperative and, as such, important for the release of the human spirit from the shackles of rational logic.

 

There are several reasons for this phenomenon. The first is a reaction to the depressive sociological milieu in which artists developed. It was caused by major anthropological changes and the initial accumulation of capital. A dark sociological residue loomed over the human spirit, but the artists’ response to it was not an aggressive one. As an antipode to all these negative elements, artists set “life zest” as the imperative of their work. They did not criticize society descriptively, rather they addressed it with a completely different spiritual attitude, formed in the contact between man and nature. For the first time, paintings acquire pulses of life. They are immersed in moisture, mists and aromas. They are not images of nature, rather they are like nature itself. Wholly analogously, the author’s attitude is the same. Their imperative is to be like nature and that attitude is an example of what society should strive for in these troubled times. The analogy with the present day is very similar. 

 

Socially engaged art need not only be the one which candidly criticizes the existing negative system. It may be an example of a better spiritual strategy in a certain time. Here we directly touch on the answer to the question of what heroism is today. Enthusiasm versus depression. Nature versus the culturological burden...

 

Djordje Stanojevic, Belgrade, October 2015