During my recent trip to London, I finally came to understand what I enjoy about art. As I mentioned in a previous article, art was not always a part of my life. Heck, I wouldn’t say it’s a large part right now either, despite a newfound appreciation.
Although I won’t be mingling with socialites, sipping wine and nibbling on cheese at the next Walker fundraiser, I do lose myself in surrealist art in a way usually reserved for fire. Just as I could stare into a campfire for hours at a time, I could stand in front of a Salvador Dali or Yves Tanguy all day.
Dali and Tanguy are easily my favorite artists. Until London, I never understood why I loved these two and their fellow surrealists while I remained indifferent to nearly all others. Finally, as I stood stroking my beard in front of Tanguy’s Azure Day at the Tate Modern, I understood.
I love surrealism’s contrast. The known and the unknown. The beauty and the brutality. The logical and the impossible, Echoes of both the familiar and the deformed. It simultaneously could be, shouldn’t be, and is. It spurs me to keep looking within each work for an understanding that will never come.
I love the sense of possibility that surrealism’s provides. While the painting ends at its margins, the ideas go on forever. The frame encloses the work, but the mind cannot help but expand beyond its original borders.
Ultimately, this is why I love surrealist art.
Realism shows me one thing. It is what it is. The style and the method and the perspective changes, but mine does not.
Abstract art shows me nothing. It does, of course, try to express something, but I’m not going to do all the work for the artist. Meet me halfway. If your triangular box with a picture of Dave Foley at the center represents the emptiness of love, at least give me a hint.
Surrealism shows me anything. There’s enough there to draw upon what I know, but not enough for me to actually know. That contrast, and the possibility it creates, blows my mind every single time.
Now, if you need me, I’ll be over here with a Mich Golden, gnawing on a hunk of sharp cheddar.
Some of my favorites after the jump.