SEARCHING TIL THERE’S NOTHING LEFT
(Response to excerpts from Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees)
Robert Irwin is truly the perfect reading for a class on nothing. He searched and searched until he discovered art is not an object but rather the experience itself – an illusion.
I related to his pursuit of answers with each art project, but it was truly astounding how singular his vision is. His ability to narrow down his focus which each further question and the tenacity to spend the time he took in his explorations is hard to imagine; working on painting dots until they created energy for the viewer, finding a way to curve the canvasses just so to eliminate the boundaries of the frame, studying just the right lighting to bring the painted discs to their proper expression. The tenacity in his pursuits simply to fulfill his own curiosity is extraordinary.
Although I cannot imagine myself feeling fulfillment from his studies, it definitely inspired me to think more in terms of how we physically perceive things. It adds another layer not only to illusions, but to filmmaking, virtual reality, interactive storytelling and all of the other artistic pursuits I have dancing around in my head. The concepts he has discovered can be used in other ways. It made me wonder about dots and shapes and color theory, and possibly taking them a step further. Or consider virtual reality — in a space built from scratch every element of the room can be chosen to enhance a particular feeling, a certain perception. Even though I will never be an artist in the traditional definition of the word. And I will definitely never create art anyone would claim had any similarity to Irwin’s. I just might borrow some of his answers.