Courbet, Mendel and Geluk LO27173

Date: 08/27/01

Dear Learners,

Pictures within pictures and frames of reference; thinking of learning
with succulents and Mendel's silent applause at the presentation of eight
years painstaking work in the garden of the monastery and to complete his
life in the obscurity of income tax planning and I thought (only one;-)
alright, alright...;-) nested infinities... the story of the old Abbot who
took the weight off his legs and sitting on some low-slung (laag) branch
of a fruiting tree on a warm august afternoon saw a lark in ( hoog-
aerial) display, so sunk was he then that the whole afternoon passed like
some ablating comet. Finally, gathering himself up and all his thoughts
he wandered back with his many reflections to find himself unknown at the
monastery...the monks greeted the (lieftallig old) man and after noting
his name informed him that according to their records no man by that name
had been the abbot there for three hundred years. Tempus fugit, eh!

AdPe new branches, a score of leaves and much like some tiny ship,
set upon a millennial jorney.
Encore cette astra!


Nearly thirty years ago I saw a small Courbet painting, a landscape. Courbet
set the scene for the so called 'impressionist revolution'. I appreciate your
love of landscapes At and that you have yourself some experience of the
challenges involved in setting down the outscape of inscape via the inscape
of outscape. So, thinking then of shifting sand-dunes, sorry, paradigms;-)
tipping at windmills, (or is that sand-dunes also?) anyway...complexity,
learning, Maturana type science, the arrogance of (some) pseudo
scientists..the utter arrogance of some scientific commentators, the field of
'knowers without original doings' ( and deeply directed feelings), know
At, when I was training as a painter in the seventies we used to have some
'pretty' such 'collective' we dubbed, 'the school of gratuitous
underpainting.' These were a group of young 'expressionist' lookalikes ) a la
Julian Schnabel (USA), Kieffer (Germany) and Frank Auerbach (London)) who, in
order to follow the 'party line' and usually this was to secure two
objectives, one a post graduate place in a London School the other to get a
dealer to show interest, would cover the canvases with any amount of 'filler'
or 'body gels' and then plop some equally gratuitous surface design upon the
In the stillness of its frozen being, away from the chaos of becoming (a fake
'unexcavated' becoming because the 'surface image' was simply transferred to
the surface) you could not tell if the image had been wrested from the deep,
or more commonly, simply ;-) imposed upon it;-). Of course, when you are in a
studio surrounded by such productions you get to see the entropy and entropy
production at work...stillness and movement...coming and going. How to tell
the original from the 'fake' emotive force behind a more genuine 'work'
regardless of contemporary cultural applause????...IMHO...FWIW...there will
be a complex co-relation between not just the colours, tones, symmetries and
asymmetries, the architecture of linear and chromatic juxtapositions, bit
there will be a deep congruence between the handlings of the surface image
marks and those that underpin it, those that one can see as you shift gaze
from slightly differing angles bringing the landscape on the inscape into a
differing the sun might move over fields and bring the ancient
undulations of ploughing and tilling to light;-) in other words the painting
has a congruence, an alignment, even in deep confusion, through all the
levels of making, the theorising of the search becomes embedded deeply in all
possible directions...but most through the complexity of the architecture
that is time/space/emotion. ( Like 'Takeing a line for a walk.' as Klee said.)

So, Courbet wrote this about one hundred and fifty years ago...
" The title of realist was imposed upon me....I have studied, not in any
systematic spirit and without preconceived ideas, the art of the ancients and
the moderns. I have no more wish to imitate the former than copy the latter;
neither has my thought been to arrive at a lazy goal of ART FOR ARTS SAKE.
No! I have simply wished to draw from the accumulated wisdom of tradition a
reasoned and independent sentiment of my own individuality. TO KNOW IN ORDER
TO DO this was my thought. to be not only a painter, but a MAN, in a word, to
make a living art, that is my aim."

I will leave it for others to draw inferences and make substitutions of
parallel meanings...but that phrase...that I have capitalised (Courbet
capitalised the others) TO KNOW IN ORDER TO DO..what is that beloved phrase
of Maturana and Varela and many who now seeks was forward for organizational
learning..."All knowing is doing and all doing is knowing."

I was going to create a minor study of how artists presaged organizational
learning in complexity by about one hundred and seventy years and to try
and draw out a few pointers from the complex compass we have...but I may
have over tested the patience of those who seek to paint a different

Here's a useless fact. Some knots of oil paint in some van Gogh paintings
may still be drying out to a uniform consistency, and if you try painting
"lean on fat" as the superficial 'school of gratuitous underpainters' in
my day did then after a few years the surface image cracks, and the
surface appearance falls away, like some ... Oh yes, ...the Courbet
painting, it's still there, no cracks, but the river in the landscape
still cascades over the rocks and the sunlight still flickers in the dark
foliage and I know at least one place where river's can run uphill;-) and
time seems to stand still beside an eternal and shared thought.


(Mendel was an Augustinian monk who was encouraged to learn by his 'order'
and took to the monastery gardens to do his learning, and by studying
garden peas he set the foundations for modern genetic science. When he
delivered his findings in an appropriate manner after a decade of studies
via mathematics the audience rose silent at the end, and turned their
backs and walked out on him...what shall we do with his gifts?)


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