Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Random connects on art and beauty

The quoted material which follows is from Luci Shaw. Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination and Spirit: A Reflection on Creativity and Faith. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2007.

"The benison (blessing) of the sacramental view of life, then, is that the Logos which first called the universe into being, now embraces and defines it, assigning meaning and value at every level. As C. S. Lewis said, "I believe in Christianity as i believe the Sun has risen not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else." Some people say that seeing is believing, but Flannery O'Connor tells us, "For the writer, to belive nothing is to see nothing." As we write about what we see, in all its concrete detail, its hard and shining edges, or its half-glimpsed outlines..." We call attention to. We reveal creation to be beautiful. Beauty is always tied to the real, the observable. It is there to be seen. Experienced. Beauty is perhaps one of the few things that constantly calls us back to God, that reminds us of an ideal of goodness and vitality, a reality that embodies the beautiful. The Benedictines hold that beauty is "truth shining into being," a principle adopted by John Keats in his famous "beauty is truth, truth beauty." In this sense beauty is redemptive. It motivates and awakens us. It surprises us and leads us to pursue a new objective.

"There is something that art says which is so qualitatively different that it demands a radically different expression. Where linear, logical thinking may produce prose with a specific function--information, or historical record, or critical analysis, or instruction, art selects and reflects on a small slice of human experience and lays it out there, a gift to anyone who is willing to savor it and enter into the artist's experience even in a minimal way. The artist, ideally, communicates experience in images and forms so precisely tailored, so personal, so multi-leveled that its insights go far beyond bare facts or mere usefulness.

"When the artist lives in the house of faith, her or his consciousness is suffused with and informed by Christian images, and when that imaginative intelligence is allowed freely to describe life-experience, the images and words supplied and shaped by the artist will reflect Christian belief even when there is no overt effort or intention to do so."