Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Anne Truitt’s last book, Prospect, is an interesting title for a final volume, with its suggestion of beginnings. Maybe only in this book of looking back can she see the plan. Or maybe she realizes she is about to become a field, like the color fields she worked in. And we are going to mine her. I am so grateful for her generosity.
“Heraclitus postulated that two great laws order the universe: the Logos, the law that nothing changes, and the Flux, the law that everything is always changing. He conceived of these laws as at once opposite and identical, as the convex and concave sides of a curving line are at once opposite and identical.”
She speaks of finding a sense of distance in moments of complete absorption in her work, as if she hovered in the space between these two forces.
Honesty is generosity.
“Purity of aspiration seems necessary to inspiration,” Truitt says in Daybook, which I’m reading now.
Some artists wallow in bad behavior, with the excuse that they need the depths from which to create art. Others philander, pursuing one trend after another. But Truitt works to refine her personal life through thoughtfulness. Her columns stand for her finely honed vision of the essence of life and art.
Truitt writes,
“The work of others may suggest techniques or even solutions. But the essential struggle [of the artist] is private . . . It is of necessity a solitary and lonely endeavor to explore one’s own sensibility, to discover how it works and to implement honestly its manifestations.”
That last phrase alone presents an endless task. Creating art that delivers the experience of our epiphanies is like translating from a language no one knows. One has to decipher the unvoiced language of one’s soul and then find a way to convey it in paint or words.
Truitt also offers her experience of looking for her lost children in a garden that’s closing—a scene that reminds one of the loss of paradise. She finds her lost children have been returned home by a policeman. She takes from this the idea of looking outside of the problem for the solution. When she loses her art studio, she decides to see it as a new freedom, and turns from sculpture to painting. She calls it the principle of reverse solution. Loss and separation give us the freedom to move beyond former limits, to find new material, ideas and life.