Dear Leo and learners,
Four or five years ago I had the pleasure to spend time with a young
Canadian research scientist at the Science Research Laboratories near
Oxford. He had worked with and learned with Richard Feynman. (Feynman was
a brilliant American physicist who I believe worked for a while at Los
Alamos and who had some very peculiar behaviour patterns, propagating
spectacular practical jokes was one of them. He was also very famous in
particular for developing special 'diagrams' to pictorialise sub-atomic
particle theory. I think it was Kevin Kelly who describes an occasion when
he was spinning a college dinner plate in a refectory and noticed in the
spinning asymmetry of the centred 'college crest' the answer to a sub
atomic particle problem.) Anyhow, during a learningful moment I asked the
young scientist to explain to me, calibrate perhaps I should say so that I
could envisage it, the distances between such particles. I said, "If one
particle was a lemon and the other a grape what would be the distance
between them?" He asked me, how big was the lemon and how big was the
grape!!! I was impressed already! I told him, and his face changed, his
gaze went off-centre and I could here his brain cranking into gear, "27.45
Leo, thank you for your subtle, flowing, generous and open response to my
contribution. As regards the artist Mondrian, there were many form and
content relations from which to select to make a modest free play study in
What though might be fascinating for those who cared to visit the web site
you mentioned to view a couple of pages of his work is to see just how the
transitions between each so called seriesâ of subjects that are really
objects of his active contemplation are both subtle and fuzzy. You know,
the way he moved from say, the human figure that look like tree trunks as
for example in the "Nude" of 1911-12 (in the Hague's Gemeentemuseum)
through to the Composition with Trees of 1912 (same collection). Then the
trees lose, or seem to lose the central trunk and the slippering branches
fan out and are literally and laterally becoming disentangled from any
central core, scattered and fragmenting. In a 1913 the One has become Many
and he paints a virtual forest in the plural, Oval Composition with Trees
Stedelijkt Museum Amsterdam. (The oval signifying cosmic energy's
transformative powers.)Then he moves to the faade series, pure shifting
relationships and are perhaps the inspiration of Parisian architecture,
then the Pier and Ocean series 1914-15 along with the lone Sea series and
finally the complete abstractions of 1917 onward. Well, that describes
the surface subjects but the real action was taking place under the
surface, which is precisely how it is with ocean waves, is it not?
Let's pretend that my study is not quite as superficial as I thought it
might be when I set out somewhat playfully, experimentally, to make it.
Within the 'One' of the composition are the 'Many' of the notations. These
themselves group into seeming SET relationships and as the eye scans new
form possibilities with inhering meaning become emergent, even as the
gestalting urge shifts so the spaces become more and more plastic and
alive. As this happens our undifferentiated visioning process (is that
verbalising a noun?) starts to inform the unconscious deeper aesthetically
formed nodes of the brain: - ) so that more subtle bits of info are
possibly communicated to the more finely apprehending mind, the inner,
inner rhythm you might say.
Arghhh! The Woodpecker is hammering on the tree. The slash motif has
reappeared as a multiple Satori figure. New meanings arising in the ebb
and flow of the dialogue between human nature and Nature's nature.
If anyone cares to swipe the Mondrian type image near the beginning of my
previous contribution, hit copy from the edit menu and open a MS Windows
Word document, run the cursor 8/13th way down the page and before you hit
the paste button make sure you have selected the center facility from the
layout bar. What you will get will be a whole new set of relationships in
which, for example, the shore line will have been transformed from being,
as Leo so well pointed out to me a unipositional (at the left hand wall)
feature of the land-seascape-edgy- interface to a
non-slipping-off-the-edge-of-the-page oval form multiface. The One to one
interface becomes a One to Many interface.
[Host's Note: that's probably the character Mondrian in LO24114. ..Rick]
It may also have the subtle effect of increasing a sense of visual field
depth. Print some copies out, why not -- and with some kiddies crayons or
watercolour put some gentle swathes of blue over the edges of it, and
toward the center maybe some warmer blue or green, see what that does¦If
you do use water-colour please see how the paper ripples back into life,
recalling in its struggle to become a little ocean itself that it was once
mostly filled with water giving life! Talk about the memory of leaves,
On the other hand, you could start changing the colours of the notations
with the letter colouring facility to see if you could make it dance
around a bit, a la Boogey woogey!
Or you could really go to town and print your creativity onto hand-made
water-colour (rag rich) paper, print out coloured versions and then lay
pure water over the surface allowing the one's make their own mappings
over the surface of the many on the gently deforming landscape: - )
What you cannot see in my little offering are the many correctiu, !%^$*!!
Corrections. In the originals of Mondrian, even in good repro's you can
see where the lines have come and gone shifted over and seemingly through
the picture plane. There is no attempt to remove the so
called errors that are better called changes of mind according to the
demands of the growing complexity of the forming whole. They sit like
little ghosts of pettimenti as in the chalk studies of Michelangelo or the
leaping horse of Leonardo that seems to have five front legs. / // / /.
(Think about that, you may be richly rewarded). Five legs at the front of
a Leonardo horse ain't a mistake, it is the reality of a visioning that
looks long, deep enough into the becoming (through time) reality of the
leaping living horse. But one can imagine Boris art teacher reaction to
seeing little Boris at eight or nine presenting such a vision. Boris,
horses have only two front legs, can't you see, can't you count? ;-(
What I find interesting, Leo about the 'comings and goings' of Mondrians
lines-created-over-space is the convergence they seem to have not only
with eastern mystical ideas of time and space through duration but a much
more prosaic connection too. For example in the 'Pier and Ocean' series
Mondrian places the Pier motif as a vertical SET of lines with little or
no shift over the horizontal plane, the Ocean motif SET is a completely
wrapping outward horizontal rhythm. Space time modelling offered as
diagrams in relativistic physics use the conventions of 'WORLD LINES'.
Particles at rest, in this case the 'Pier' motif are designated as 'pure
verticals', they do not move through the horizontal axis of space, only in
the vertical one of time, so we might say they exist but do not live in
this model? The 'Ocean' element however shifts almost totally as
horizontal, so existing on both time and space planes and can we then say
of them, that they are 'living'? In these special 'insightful' diagrams
nothing living moves purely vertically. But the nearer to vertical the
faster is its living (spatial) motion. Though they may all move this way
and that in space, they may only ever move forward through time. The lack
of diagonals cramps Mondrian's style here:-) so I reckon he uses overlay,
the overpainting in this washes to convey movement through time of his
living particles. In fact, if we substitute the visualisation of a
overlayed (submerged) lines in a Mondrian painting with the dashed line of
the 'field theory diagram' that represents the reverse track of the
particle upon a collision then the two systems of representing reality are
surprisingly convergent. What is really weird about the 'field' diagrams
is that dashed lines can in the case of photons represent the backward
track through time!! To oversimplify this connection. Ideas come and go in
time space, Mondrian's notations come and go in time and space, sub atomic
particles come and go in time and space, human actions come and go in time
and space and all contribute equally in their comings and goings to the
whole that constitutes the world of physics and metaphysics. Anyway, so it
seems to me.
These words of Dogen are interesting in relation to Mondrian. " It is
beleived by most that time passes; in actual fact, it stays where it is.
This idea of passing may be called time, but it is an incorrect idea, for
since one sees it only as passing, one cannot understand that it stays
just where it is."
So it is that you will never find a 'storm in the teacup' of a Mondrian
The mistakes then can be allowed to become part of the whole. They are
like hinges on doors to change. Maybe something in nothing. The east has
a rich seam of philosophy and practice around the fundamental value of
nothing in the world, as did Leonardo and Mondrian. Something many
so-called scientists have been slow to appreciate? But anyhow, a mistake
ain't nothin it is rather the fundament of change and the topsy turvy up
down raggedy edged vortex of deep human creativity. Mistakes? Make loads
of them, bury them deep into the heart of your paintings Andrew and they
will pump life up through to the surface.
Confucius knew all about the value of making mistakes, like the new but
relatively dim ;-( and unoriginal) gurus of business in this century say
it, fail forward fast. As one might expect, Picasso said it a different
way, " I have never made trials or experiments, whenever I have had
something to say I have said it in the manner in which I have felt it
ought to be said."
In great works of art like great works of life, mistake, error, loss,
hesitation, stuttering, stumbling are implicit sign to the praxis in
A signal of deep living.
Emanates from deep feeling.
Deep still ocean, still.
Leo, I wonder if you can find some images of the ancient, connected, deep,
feelingful, aboriginal peoples of Australia and just feel the vibrations ////
\\//\ \///\ \//\///\ \/////\///\\\ \\///\ \/\ \//\.?
This world is just waking up to their ancient wisdom that great distance
can become closest connection and that what is infinitely spare touches,
close > close. They can teach well how creativity can -- share systems of
representation over vast regions and diverse peoples sharing influences
and exchanging ceremonies and ideas without losing local identity. Could
that be a lesson for a LO?
The little image I set into these living pages can be lifted up, be reborn
to another place and played around with until perhaps it becomes something
entirely transformed. Who would care to do such a thing? But where ever
anyone took the image, the genesis remains in One place and that is way,
way, away, close, close, and closer than we can ever imagine.
-Though this isn't knowledge you learn; it's knowledge you turn into.
Just thinking Ocean Series for a moment, Each region has many ways in
which relationship between -- -- -- can be represented, and Aboriginal
artists are always inventing new ways of depicting that relationship.
Everywhere paintings of land can be brought into the same discourse over
land, myth and history (identity); it is discourse over land that provides
one of the unifying themes (memes?) that can be applied to Aboriginal art.
Very fitting for a Dutchman Leo, you and Mondrian's people; one day you
got together and just hauled the land out from the sea. Great creative
" Trunk and branches share the essence;
revered and common, each has its speech."
I admire your personal courage.
PS. Confucius said, " To make a mistake and not to change, now that is what I
call making a mistake."
[Host's Note: There were a lot of special characters (formatting?) in this
msg which I had to remove. Hope I didn't mes things up. ..Rick]
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