Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Evil? of Abstract Impressionism.



How it has led 'degenerate moderns' to identify images of Mary... every where.
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The Salon.  Under the over-pass.  On your toasted cheese sandwich.  On the stain in your bath tub.  On the shower tile...
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The latest is the shower tile apparition (shown above).   Here's the story:
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"Cayol!  Cayol honeee!  The Blaessed Vergin is appearin' in our butifull new shawer stall!  Quick! Call the newspaper!"
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"Oh Gayree!  You always seein' stuff where it ain't!"  Carol said while she was walking into the lovely new bathroom Gary installed with tiles from Lowes.
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To Carol's surprise she saw the image (shown in this article!) - "I dropped to my knees - it was definitely the Blessed Virgin!"  Carol, a fine arts major in college told reporters that "anyone who has ever loved abstract expressionism - like most Americans do - would recognize it immediately!"  Read the entire article here:  Oklahoma couple find image of Virgin Mary on bathroom tile.
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An eidolon.
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I use that term for such images as the bath tile madonna - it does resemble images of the Virgin, in a caveman sort of style.  Eidolon means 'an unsubstantial image: phantom'.  popular culture has trademarked the term for other purposes, while Carl Sagan employed another similar term for imaginary images - but I can't remember what it was.  Doh!  But the reader knows what I mean.
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UPDATE:  Thanks to Eve, the word I was looking for is Pareidolia:

Carl Sagan hypothesized that as a survival technique, human beings are "hard-wired" from birth to identify the human face. This allows people to use only minimal details to recognize faces from a distance and in poor visibility but can also lead them to interpret random images or patterns of light and shade as being faces.  The evolutionary advantages of being able to identify friend from foe with split-second accuracy are numerous; prehistoric (and even modern) men and women who accidentally identify an enemy as a friend could face deadly consequences for this mistake. This is only one among many evolutionary pressures responsible for the development of the modern facial recognition capability of modern humans. - Wiki (Again, thanks to Eve.)

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Artists and creative people see images everywhere, in the formation of clouds, in the patterns of marble, in the smoke from their - and so on.  In my opinion I think most of the 'miraculous' and abstract images one sees are really eidolons or rather, pareidolia.  One can look at a photo of space and see in the patterns of gases and galaxies images similar to what one might see in nature for instance; or in the pattern of wood grain, one can maybe see a resemblance to waves on a shoreline, even landscapes and rock formations - stare at a pew during a boring homily and it can be like watching tv - if you're creative - or a little bit nuts.
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Abstract expressionism.
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I also think abstract expressionism can play a role in what people see.  I came across a piece on how abstract expressionism was supported by the CIA and more or less foisted upon the art world in reaction to Soviet realism - or something like that - I'll get to it latter.  But it got me to thinking...  Oh, oh - a little knowledge is dangerous.  I know.
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Anyway.  I think most people have desperately tried all of their lives to make sense of art works promoted as 'abstract impressionism'.  Hence they stare and stare trying to see something, anything.  For instance, I had to fight off the temptation to see something representational in Rothko's blackened canvas - I know I saw something - but what?  So was it better for me to just experience it?  See how that works though?  There is a human need to recognize, to discern, to identify.  It is especially important for Catholics, accustomed to churches stripped of ornament and recognizable art - they are starved for something representational and edifying - they need visual, tangible, recognizable images of faith.  They need sign posts and aids - otherwise they begin to invent them and see them where they are not. 
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The CIA, art, and life as one big conspiracy theory.
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So.  What's the deal with abstract expressionism and the CIA?  Who knew?
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... the triumph of American art during the early Cold War years over stodgy Moscow-approved socialist realism as fashion.
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After WWII, the U.S. government attempted to win European intellectuals away from the Communist Party by sponsoring avant-garde art, such as the New York School of abstract expressionist painting. But, American politicians, such as President Truman, objected to the taxpayers dollars being wasted on ugly stuff that their kids could do.
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So, funding moved to the black budget of the CIA.
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Frances Stonor Saunders' 1995 article in The Independent, Modern art was CIA 'weapon,' revealed some details of CIA sponsorship of the New York School. Her method of research was basically to call up old CIA men (or their kids) and get them talking about their triumphs during the good old days. This is not a particularly reliable method (it invites old-timers to exaggerate their importance), but it's certainly better than nothing. - Finish reading  Abstract Expressionism and the CIA
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???
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Obviously realism - in every sphere of life - needs to make a come back for many.
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Hottentot.


H/T to Western Confucian
and Spirit Daily for the bath tile story.

34 comments:

  1. Pareidol.
    http://www.skepdic.com/pareidol.html

    I love the internets.

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  2. I believe Truman stated, "if that's art, I'm a hottentot." Appropriate remarks if you ask me.

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  3. Ok,here is where I lose any credibility, that I might have had, but...

    Last August, I was cleaning my bedroom and stewing over something that seemed of great importance at the time. I needed to use the bathroom and as I was walking toward it, I let out a little cry for mercy. "Lord, what am I going to do???"

    I took a seat on the toilet (sorry to be graphic) and bending forward a little, gazed down at the sun coming in from the window in the shower that was casting upon my shower mat. I could not believe my eyes! P R A Y was perfectly spelled out. I thought I must be imagining things (I had NEVER been into this sort of thing). I kept turning my head and from every direction, P R A Y. I finished my business, grabbed my phone and took a couple shots. However, the letters P R A Y that I was clearly seeing before my eyes would not show up on the photo. I blew the photos up and where each letter was on the mat, in the photo they appeared as angels presenting things to the second figure (which was the R in the letter sequence) that looked like a crowned woman holding a baby out, that had its arms extended forming a cross. Ok, I know, you're rolling your eyes.

    I walked around the light forms at every side and it spelled out P R A Y, yet it would not show up in the photos.

    Now, did this really impact me in a major way? No. I already know to pray and have faith, etc, etc...

    I started checking my bathroom floor mat every afternoon at the same time and never EVER saw the same light formation-EVER. Nothing even closely resembling it.

    I have no idea what to make of it, but I took it as a little wink, a little reminder that yes, God is listening, looking out for me, etc, etc...

    I'll try not to "sell crazy" on here any more.

    Note: I still have the pictures if anyone would like to see them.

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  4. @Clark -- I would love to see the pictures ... and, Terry, here ya go ... look at the marble behind JPII and to his right and see if you can see the logo eyes of the BS-Dog. By the way, that's Corapi that JPII is blessing during his ordination ... Link

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  5. Jeanette - freakish! ;)

    Clark - I too would like to see the photos.

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  6. Gosh Terry, thanks! It's been the gays fault for everything on here for so long, that I almost forgot about the Masons and all the damage that they do too! Gotta write that on my white board: "MASONS!" so that I remember. ;-) Love ya! Ace

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  7. Thanks Eve! I updated the post accordingly - it was exactly what I was looking for.

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  8. Ace - I took the comment down - but I'm glad to know you know that I know it was them.

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  9. I had a Virgin Mary in my bath tile too.

    Don't be jealous cause I was chosen, Terry...

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  10. I hope to never have a vision or apparition or locution or anything like that. I'd hate for the Blessed Mother to see me pee my pants out of fear...how embarrassing!

    On the whole - an interesting post on abstract art. I don't get what it's supposed to do or mean or convey, except for the viewer to impose his/her own ideology upon it. Come to think of it, a lot of people in the Church do the same thing to Church teaching - impose their own ideas of "what it means to them", instead of allowing themselves to be overwhelmed by its balance, beauty and symmetry.

    When I go to art museums, I much prefer the work of the masters instead of those by modern abstract junkyard-rummaging bored depressed artists. Are there any artists today who express their joy, or are they all angry and pissed off at something?

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  11. Ok, I'll put them up shortly and will post the link here.

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  12. I think the meaning of art has descended to nothing more than shock. It's equivalent to a 4th grader saying "f***" in class in order to shock his classmates and teacher.

    On a side note, over at the blog "Tea at Trianon", elena has a similar post, but she's got an awesome picture by Norman Rockwell depicting an old man standing in front of a Jackson Pollack painting. What struck me was how easy it was for Rockwell to reproduce the Pollack painting for that work, but how difficult it is for ANYONE to reproduce Rockwell.

    Yet I've had a people tell me that Norman Rockwell was not an artist, but an illustrator. Eh. (interestingly, this was a former deacon who is now a Methodist).

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  13. Merc - Rockwell was snubbed and dismissed by the art world but that is changing today and history will judge him a master. I love his stuff.

    The link to Western Confucian and Steve Sailer's blog would be the source for the piece by Rockwell of the man looking at the Pollack.

    I still love Rothko and will keep starring at it to see that think I'm looking for.

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  14. Cathy - I thought I saw the Blessed Virgin in the branches of a bare winter tree once - the bare branches outlined her sillouette like the Virgin of the Smile when I had the flue in 5th grade.

    When I used to do drugs a long time ago I used to think I could see through my eyelids.

    Hi Larry.

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  15. I know flu doesn't have an e - I was just testing to see if anyone saw it.

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  16. I like Rothko too, but didn't Rothko never claim to be representing anything? Like, weren't his paintings just studies in color and stuff?

    It's not like he painted red blending into green and called it "The Dreyfuss Affair" or "Queer Feelings" or something.

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  17. "...see through my eyelids."

    LULZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

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  18. I also love abstract - both expressionist and impressionist paintings.

    I love the feeling of just sinking into colour and texture and then seeing where it all takes me in my thoughts, what my brain will cause me to see.

    It is hard to paint like this too - because we are hardwired to have our creations be something and mean something. Little kids do it because they are having fun with the colours and their images are stripped down to essentials.

    BTW - The pattern in my friend's bathroom tile just in front of the toilet looks like Fidel Castro - complete with hat.

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  19. Terry, that picture of Harry Truman is every conspiracy theorist's dream.

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  20. Austringer11:16 AM

    "It is hard to paint like this too - because we are hardwired to have our creations be something and mean something."

    Wow -- that's quite a claim. Not that we are hard-wired to have our creations be and mean something -- that's obvious, given that we are made in the image and likeness of our Creator, and His creations all have being and meaning -- but the claim that it's "hard" to produce meaningless crap. NO, IT ISN'T. It is far, far more difficult to depict something with skill and intelligibility -- that's why so few people seem to be able to do it well. Not everyone has the talent to do it. It's much, much more palatable to modern minds to believe or pretend to believe that self-indulgent, lack-of-talent-hiding dribbles of this or that are really profound. It tells me that our modern era has stripped the mystery out of life as much as possible (where our Faith used to be), and so people hunger to find mystery elsewhere. And they'll find it in silly garbage, if someone in authority (the high priests of the intellectual elite), thell them it's there.

    Kids are much harder to fool. One has to be educated out of common sense...

    OK -- rant over.....

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  21. +JMJ+

    You totally missed my Norman Rockwell Painting Smackdown last year, didn't you?

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  22. Kimvandapool12:32 PM

    Austringer has it right. I've always wondered how abstract art has come to be regarded as highly as it is - far above any other style in our modern day and age. As an artist, I've had to work hard practicing and studying my whole life to imitate and express the real. And yet, I promise you, I have no problem producing something utterly "profound" and "abstract" for the eyes of those too educated or sophisticated to appreciate the obvious. And I can do it in about 5 minutes.

    Oh well.

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  23. I don't like abstract art as something to contemplate ... but sometimes it's just nice in terms of color, shape, and form. Mondriaan comes to mind.

    Sometimes it's ugly and crap - like Pollock.

    But I do think finding "deep meaning" in it is a bit silly.

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  24. Austringer12:54 PM

    Kimvandapool,

    Lessee....work hard all your life to hone your artistic skills in order to render the beauty of the created world or of one's imagination, in an intelligible form, or -- produce meaningless and/or shocking garbage in about five minutes and have the cultural elites proclaiming how profound you are (or, if you've sneered at Christianity somehow, how BRAVE you are), and get invited to all the right parties...

    Quite a choice. It's easy to see why there have been more "artists" in the last 150 years than in the preceding several centuries. Not to mention the almost near-total destruction of teaching methods...even those who have talent will find it difficult to receive training that actually develops that talent instead of corrupting it.

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  25. Austringer12:59 PM

    "I don't like abstract art as something to contemplate ... but sometimes it's just nice in terms of color, shape, and form."

    I agree. It's probably more properly considered a kind of decoration than anything having to do with fine art as it has been understood through the centuries prior to the very late 1800s.

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  26. But even abstract art that's beautiful in an abstract sense follows the same "rules" for beauty found naturally in patterns and color combinations.

    I can look at a nice plaid pattern on a shirt and admire the symmetry and the beauty of it, but I wouldn't call it art in the same way I'd call Vermeer art.

    I just hate the stuff that's deliberately ugly.

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  27. The photos are up: http://s1094.photobucket.com/albums/i445/ClarkWhitney/

    Please remember while viewing the photos that what I was actually seeing on the rug were the letters: P R A Y. Not abstractly, but very clearly. What showed up in the pictures appears to be angel-like figures with a woman holding a baby with arms in cross position or just holding a cross. Again, this formation never showed up on my bath mat again. That said, I just ate a bowl of piping hot chicken soup on a 100 degree day, so call me crazy if ya like.

    The detail that shows up on my IPhone is much clearer than on Photobucket...but it is what it is.

    What do you see?

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  28. Kimvandapool2:52 PM

    Well, and the thing about abstract art (and maybe this has already been touched on) is that it seems to serve as a kind of mirror to people as they gape at it, matrixing images and meaning from its random disorder. It sort of massages narcissism as people search for recognizable signs of their own thoughts and feelings from within the art. Whereas in other styles of art, in which a mastery of order and control has been employed, people are forced to journey outside of their own heads and into the realm what the artist is trying to convey. They must see things from the artist's view and not necessarily their own.

    In other news, Clark - I'm not sure what to make of your bathroom rug. I definitely do see shapes that roughly resemble two figures. But I can't begin to see angels or babies, or any other specific detail.

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  29. I was so waiting for Austringer. I always have thought art like Rothko's looks great in bank lobbies or waiting rooms, where you can stare mindlessly and empty your mind of all thought. Sort of Zen.

    It looks good within the enviroment of minimal architecture and design. One needs a hint - or the absence of - color.

    I love all of your comments.

    I'm not an artist - but I do paint.

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  30. Clark - the link didn't work for me.

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  31. No more hot chicken soup for you Clark, but thanks for the link. :) It would be great to see the more clear version that you have, but I surely believe you. There are signs everywhere ...

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  32. Austringer10:28 PM

    Terry -- Hah! You know discussing this is like trailing blood in front of a hungry shark -- you know I'm going to bite.

    I agree with you -- there are places where abstract decoration fits in quite well. An artist I particularly admire, William Paxton, stated that you could only get out of a piece what was put into it -- sometimes a minimalist thing of color fits a decor just for that reason. Just don't call it art....

    Clark -- the Adoration chapel at my former parish featured faux painting designed to look like stone. A staff member told me that in a particular area, you could make out the head of Christ. She told me exactly where to find it -- but I never could see it, though I could make out any number of images elsewhere in the painted finish. All of which is to say that this could be just a personal thing...

    Mercury -- the ugly stuff is anti-art and anti-God.

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  33. Clark, the light image is crazy scary. I mean that in good way of course. The baby Jesus looks so, so vivid.

    I once saw while I was driving down a highway huge cloud formations that formed a flying angel blowing a trumpet. It wasn't like, "Gee, that looks just like an angel". It was like, "Holy s***, am I dreaming?" The way the shadows and lights and everything worked together was absolutely beyond coincidence. I was gobsmacked.

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