July 27, 2007

Waves of Thought

Surrealist Composition(Inaugural Gooseflesh)~ by Salvador Dali, 1928

Today is going to be a random series of thoughts, I am just riding the waves in my brain here. There's a lot going on in my head, wow~

My Dali studies have continued. I found a dusty box of books in the basement and have been looking at paintings while eating lunch. The one above struck me yesterday. It was an early abstract from Dali, in 1928. Notice the same road structure as the one I posted several days ago. That's the thing about Dali, is that you have to consider his work as a whole, as an epic story almost. It is beautiful and stands on its own but it is so much more meaningful as a whole collection, and when taken into context with history. Art history, political history, science and technology history and personal history are key in really understanding it, I think.

Anyway, nothing quite so deep connects me to this painting today. I totally ran out of porcelain, having to scrounge up the dust and little leftover bits and reprocess them in order to finish my orders last night. To get more, its a bit of a drive on the freeway. I see the painting as the road and those blobs look like lumps of porcelain. Pretty literal connection, lol! That's the wonderful thing about art, you can connect to something and have your own personal reasons and experience as well.

I am fascinated by the Dalinian Paranoid-Critical method, and I desire to learn more about it, as well as other surrealist techniques. From what I understand, the method is a surrealist technique that involves linking things from dreams and daydreams, and perhaps hallucinations, and combining them in ways that might not reasonable be connected. I think it is about limitations, and deciding when to break away from them, and when to abide by them, in this case with art and visualizations. At the time Dali was revolutionary, since he seemed to be painting such bizarre other worldly things: they really upset people. But when you look at it in context, the paintings are actually very calculated and controlled, just in a way that one was not accustomed to. In fact, in this painting, the blobs are numbered, and Dali has said that it reflects his fascination with the metric system. A seemignly mundane subject, but what he probably saw in his head while thinking about measurements and distance.

Federico García Lorca wrote in his 'Ode to Salvador Dalí, 'A desire for forms and limits overwhelms us. The man who measures with the yellow yardstick comes.'

I am thinking about waves as well. Not really literal waves. I am reading about Feminism and the three waves of it. When you study history like that it can easily be segmented by time. It seems clear cut. But when during the second wave did the third wave start? Does a specific event mark the change? Do you know there is a change happening while you are in it...can you identify the beginning and end as a participant? It is the same thing with art movements. You can read about Dada and Surrealism and Modernism and Postmodernism, but don't they really flow into each other, instead of distinctly beginning and ending like you read about?

I think of this because I feel that the Beads of Clay group that I have been active in over the last few years is in a similar situation. Not comparing our little group to an art or social movement, of course! Just connecting the things I am studying right now. Anyway, I feel that I was part of the first wave of Beads of Clay, helping to found it and organize it, and also promote and raise awareness of it. Many great strides have been made since we started, and I feel some of those goals we made are being met, and I am feeling that my ride on this part of the wave is coming to an end somehow. I thinkit may be time for a new wave to start, and while I want to be a part of it, I am thinking my part will be much less active. I hope it is not grandiose to think of the group as a whole going through the waves or changes just because of my attitude towards it, but I really have played a major part, so I don't know, that might be realistic. Its like I said about recognizing the change while you are in it. Maybe it starts as just a feeling, or a change in attitude of one person. Or perhaps it is just my own internal wave that is changing, and moving my own mind in another direction. Maybe time will tell what the tides have in store.

Isn't it funny when things start connecting? I was thinking of this song "That Wave" by XTC while writing this and found this homemade video of it on You Tube. It is strangely sort of surrealist, but I guess the song itself is too...


  1. You're not alone in these thoughts. I think about them daily. I do think that when you are active in a community, it is both easy to notice the shifts of movements AND easy to be so caught up in activity to not notice until afterwards. They say hind-sight is 20/20.

    Nowadays, in the art world, it seems like everything goes and everything is so quick to change. So the movements become faster and quicker and the memories of people become shorter. After having participated for a few years, you start to see the same ideas and techniques cycling back through the system. Perhaps one day these ideas and techniques will be singled out and proclaimed an individual movement although they are all divorced of each other.

    But yeah, I think that the power of one thought is like a pebble in a pond... it creates ripples and waves. And if you're into chaos theory and the butterfly effect, that small pebble can shake the world and cause earthquakes and hurricanes.

    The same potential lies within each of us.

  2. Melanie,
    Listen to you heart, body, and soul....then whatever choice you make, it will be the right one. The right one for you. And no one but you can make the choice or chose the time to make a change.

    You have been and continue to be an inspiration.

    So thank you - and all the best.

  3. interesting to read and to learn from you


  4. Thank you Jean and Jennifer for your comments.

    I lost interest in art history when we got to late modernism and postmodernism especially. Studying it seemed like an "anything goes" sort of thing, completely deconstructed from the beauty and techinque of Art as I imagined it. I am completely out of touch with current trends or movements, but it seemed like at the point of late modernism, things would simply disperse into a million mini movements with little cohesive elements tying them together.

    I wonder if the speed and short memory of the mini movements that are separated and recycling is a reflection of our culture (US pop culture, MTV generations, rapidly changing technology) Maybe the series of quickly changing and moving ideas and art IS the new movement.

    Now I am interested in what is going on NOW. It has been fascinating to read about what was going on in art a century ago, when the artists were revolutionaries speaking out against and reacting to the wars of those times.

    Where are our visionaries? Are they here but just not as visible to the masses (including myself in masses here, since I feel so out of touch with current art)? Or were things really underground throughout history, so that the masses never really saw what was going on, and it is only in retrospect that history is understood?