Art that denies reason defies reality – and denies life

Art that denies reason defies reality – and denies life

by Charles Harris
article from Monday 27, February, 2017

DEAR READERS, Thank you for your enthusiastic responses. This time I thought I would enclose a number of them with my thanks and hope I have presented the best of everybody's ideas accordingly. Personally, I do find it disgusting that I am still having to say these same things about the loss to our culture and I find it unbelievable that any of this should still be happening today.

As a legacy of the war my aged parents, before they passed away, did believe in the democracy they fought for - and that I should be free to have a voice and be allowed to express my views.  They were very concerned because I had chosen art, not law, as my subject. For with art in our recent post-war Britain they observed a proper freedom of voice and open general belief, especially with our modern media, did not seem to really occur with art, despite my qualifications, work, and experience.

Since, and throughout my career, a reality of being unable to disbelieve in modern art has continuously dominated today's media. I suspect it is mainly due to a former need to support modernisation in many aspects of life and to acknowledge the benefits of new advancements in science, that were occurring simultaneously – but without recognition that meaningful art cannot be appreciated or considered in a similar pragmatic fashion?

I think this became a habit the media could not break. Yet as we have seen, modernism was not a solution for everything. In Art, it has been a complete disaster. It has not reflected or strengthened our established culture, but undermined it constantly with a rotten cheap "Anything is okay" modernist ideology – and practically with modern art lacking social value, visual beauty, reality, and any new inspiration. Sadly, this modern art has not visually attempted to address life or reason, but through theories of conceptualisation has moved further away from reality. The long-term effect this has had upon our art and in art education, is a total catastrophe. 

By contrast, the multi-best-selling author, the late Tery Goodkind said, "Teachings that defy reason - deny reality: what denies reality denies life." So after twenty years of flannel, biased committees, and a huge mess with a loss created in every regard, we cannot continue to allow these biased choices to be repeatedly made, when they do not reflect reality, and for all the wrong reasons, defying our lives.  As a friend said, "The fable of the Emperor's Suit of invisible Clothes has finally come to a close." This is true, as there can be no more mawkish, meaningless, ignorance. We will never be convinced by modernists ideas again, with a cynical ha! ha! ha! of contempt, for visually today we all know better. 

I am also grateful for the advice I reviewed this week in reply to previous questions regarding the public commissioning of art. How in practice such artworks must not be allowed to sneak in a back door fashion as an addition to our planning process . With any future planning requirements we must not see poor modern decorations that claim to be Art always chosen without any full complete public agreement.

Practically, if you are making plans four years ahead, it doesn't mean these things should be allowed to slyly make their way in behind other proposals. Today councillors and politicians need to help the public choose new Art for our future, with a new proper selection process. This bias towards modernist art objects cannot keep happening, particularly when meetings may be impractical for the majority of the public to attend, or even understand what may be occurring.

My own experience in education has become one of déjà vu, for in masterclasses across the globe I have found a keen willingness to want to encourage everybody to learn how to draw properly. Indeed in, 'The Artist in Residence Scheme' that I first pioneered in a Surrey School, (featured on the BBC 6 o'clock News,) I included pupils, teachers and parents, all in the same evening classes, to encourage a general understanding of what is always needed for Art. This created complete understanding and was naturally successful.

It was all reversed and ignored, however, as modernism created a stranglehold on the world of art in Britain for several generations after, and the mess that followed has been as a consequence. Yet I now believe these previously unexpressed views, which have been kindly published and the open support you have generously shown, can bring necessary change across our world of art and end this wrong very soon. 

To close, here are some of your good letters in response, as promised:

"Dear Charles,

Norrie Miller Gardens simply looks sad without those supporting lights. It is as you said."

"Dear Charles,

Thank you for explaining why we have seen nothing better in public art. My husband and I always suspected it was to do with costs. However, on the Homes programme, there was recently a feature on a fellow countryman who built an elegant Italian house, complete with arches in stone. Using conventional materials, it naturally cruised through building regulations, cost no more in labour and was a third cheaper in materials. So we are pleased to learn this problem is not financial but to do with stupid fashion. "

"Thanks for the article Charles. 

You're hammering home the thoughts and understanding of the many, not the few. The small minority who manipulate modern art are isolated. The general population does not appreciate their ideology or see any worth in their exhibits. The media will turn in due course thanks in no small way to your educational mission. "

"Hi Charles,

I was thinking about what you had said on Art and Sport and I saw there was a perfect example in Football. I am talking about Arsenal striker Giroud's last goal, where he scored when a cross had come in and it was going to pass behind him. There was no way he could physically connect with the ball in order to score, but he seemingly stuck out an ankle behind him and the ball went perfectly and beautifully placed into the net. It apparently wasn’t supposed to be physically possible. So it came to me after reading your words, that what modern art does to traditional artists, is the very opposite to Sport. By deliberately not encouraging proper craft skills and developing the gifts of individuals, modern art is trying to close everything down and deny opportunities for people to gain great skill for selfish reasons. If this had happened in football by now we would have no gifted players and no decent football to watch."

"Dear Charles,                  

It occurs to me that modern art, because of an impoverished academic and a skills vacuum, always needs others to manufacture a script for it. Whilst classical art has an instantaneous visual connection and needs no explanation, for as you rightly say, it is what it is. So there is no intellectual scrabbling about required, without the chance of ever getting it wrong. While modernist art by necessity is harder to comment about and be understood by ordinary viewers, and it has certainly for my money played heavily upon this factor over the decades, deliberately widening a gulf between the interests of art lovers and proper Art."

"Hi Charles,

I like it a lot, I think you have laid the facts down well, and without ranting which I believe strengthens your argument immeasurably..."

"Hi Charles,

Just to say this problem with teaching modernism is not restricted to art but has occurred in other subjects, making needless work and confusion in many different areas."

"Hallo Charles,

I agree with you here. Last Summer, our family all went to my niece's Art Degree Show in Dundee. It was all pretence with little to see or appreciate. One chosen as a top 'Installation,' had dirt thrown over the floor with white string for borders. Then we were given headphones to walk about and listen to bird song. It was a diabolical waste of money. Any amateur gardener could have done better than this, without any paid instruction. Get them to pay back the money I suggest."

(Copyright: Charles Harris 2017 – Trust Your Heart). Photo: Charles teaching in Italy. 

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