First They Came for Black

Venus 3

Newberry, Venus 3, oil on linen, 46 x 26 inches.

First they came for black and removed it from our spectrum. Next to go were the colors of light and shadow. They said that color was a power in its own right, not to be used as a slave to luminosity. The real, they said, was freedom from restrictions.

They came for form, claiming that the canvas was flat. Next to go were proportion and spatial depth. They said that painting projected the outside world, like looking through a window was a lie. The real, they said, was that paint was paint and it shouldn’t look like something it is not.

They came for the figure, saying that eliminating it was innovation. Next to go was sensory perception and the human viewpoint. They said that beauty was oppression, that our senses deceive and the combination was despotic. The real they said was not to be found outside us, but only from within.

After they removed subject matter and perception, they were left with flat graphic designs suitable for sugary cereal, textiles, or enamel coasters–reducing art to the trite. OMG they said, that was not our intent. The real they said was no more rules of art.

They came for the canvas and replaced it with waste, human and otherwise. Next to go was any kind of stuff, replaced by just emptiness … They said the sublime is not to be found in things. The real they said was that humans were unworthy of existence.

They came for the human spirit and left nothing in its wake. But next to happen, was that pockets of humanity fed up with devolution decided to recapture our heritage of art. They, the new voice, said don’t limit yourself, use every element of your entire being, from dreams to science, and create the very best of humanity. The real they said is that art is evolutionary– ignore it and surely your demise will be the result.

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