Fantasy Conversation with Cezanne


Pygoya, 1980



Paul Cezanne: (1866) ... I had resolved to work in silence until the day when I should feel myself able to defend in theory the results of my attempts. (work before theory)

Pygoya: I agree it's easier, safer, and more convincing to make theoretical comments after the fact - of publicly accepted artistic quality of one's work. However, I find theory too important to be relegated to the back of the bus. It is too fiercely demanding on my creative self to not gain attentuational prominence between my artistic works/efforts. Theory, as it gains depth and richness to ongoing experience, is mesh with my paints and influences the next canvas's approach and experiment. Besides, my background includes too much of the ways of science, including dental theory applied to successful post-operative results on the human body; I recognize and utilize the aesthetics of a rational analysis of this world to add flavor to my artwork.

Cezanne: (1904) ... For if the strong experience of nature - and assuredly I have it - is the necessary basis for all conception of art on which rests the grandeur and beauty of all future work, the knowledge of the means of expressing our emotion is no less essential, and is only to be acquired through very long experience.

Pygoya: I, at this point of my development, agree that nature is behind all art. Of course, the word "nature" may be too broad in describing this world that it is almost useless in describing the phenomenon of "art." For example the definition of "nature" in Webster's Scholastic Dictionary: "The universe; the total of all agencies and forces in the creation; the inherent or essential qualities of anything; individual constitution; sort; natural human instincts; reality as distinct from that which is artificial." Doesn't that sort of cover everything? Anyway, Paul, for me "nature" is the hidden order or hierarchies of systems that function, not built by man (not artificial, including art?), and result in higher order or totality of existence - like being alive as a cluster of cells and organs. The understanding and discoveries - whether from books or from personal experience- of nature then become potential conversions of an allegorical brand of art. Call it "psychological art" if you will. And yes, the recognition of the variable of "knowledge of the means of expressing our emotion" as an important factor in creating art is a slap in the face to any purely scientific/objective attempt to analyze art. However, it is my modus operandi to study the processes of creating art with a critical eye but yet safeguard that element of mystique in art derived from the private domain of the artists' emotions and feelings. It's my "factor X" in my theoretical formulations of the aesthetic experience/perception.

Cezanne: Taste is the best judge. It is rare. Art only addresses itself to an excessively small number of individuals.

Pygoya: Yeah, most of us are too busy trying to "make a living" to spend money and time on "art appreciation." Thus art remains unreal and an occasionally diversion from the hard knocks of real life. It remains palliative and therapeutic for most. And those that do it full time and are successful at it, prescribe the tonic with dispensing and directional skills of a pharmacist. "Frame it," "centerpiece" for the room's furnishings; "rare find and good investment even as you (will) enjoy it," "it's 'contemporary';" "it's a 'masterpiece' you are beholding;" "it'll bring you pleasure everytime you look at it on your wall."

Cezanne: ... Should you at the moment be under the influence of one who is older than you believe me as soon as you begin to feel yourself, your own emotions will finally emerge and conquer their place in the sun - get the upper hand, confidence - what you must strive for to attain is a good method of construction.

Pygoya: Well said! Personal growth through courage in real experiencing must continue when proctoring and group-expert guidance and protection drops off. And this can only happen if one has "finally" evolved to the level of "confidence" necessary to - as we say today - "do one's own thing."

Cezanne: Time to go outdoors now. Your time's up.

Pygoya: A hundred bows for the chance to speak to you, Your Honor. And a thousand fireflies to light your way to further penetration of the artistic expression of nature's secrets.