21 March, 2011

Quotes About Ambiguity In Art

The Red Madras Headress
1907, O/C
99.4 x 80.5 cm
Henri Matisse
Barnes Foundation, Merion, PA 

Looking for an anchor to tie your art to?  You won't find it here, partner.  Instead, I bring you ambiguity. 

Artist's Quotes

"There is in every artist’s studio a scrap heap of discarded works in which the artist’s discipline prevailed against his imagination." Robert Brault.

"To sum up, I work without a theory. I am conscious above all of the forces involved, and find myself driven forward by an idea that I can really only grasp bit by bit as it grows with the picture." Henri Matisse.

"I paint in order not to cry." Paul Klee.

"But the Devil whoops, as he whooped of old: 'It's clever, but is it Art?'" Rudyard Kipling.

"No great art has ever been made without the artist having known danger." Rainer Maria Rilke.

"Whoever wishes to devote himself to painting should begin by cutting out his own tongue." Henri Matisse.

"Not only do I not know what's going on, I wouldn't know what to do about it if I did."  George Carlin.

"What garlic is to salad, insanity is to art." Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

"An artist's career always begins tomorrow."  James McNeill Whistler.

"One must beware of a formula good for everything, that will serve to interpret the other arts as well as reality, and that instead of creating will only produce a style, or rather a stylization." George Braque.

"If I knew what I was doing, I'd be doing it right now." Keith Urban.

"Truth and reality in art do not arise until you no longer understand what you are doing and are capable of, but nevertheless sense a power that grows in proportion to your resistance." Henri Matisse.


Please accept the following document, which is a copy of these quotes on ambiguity, as a gift from me.  Right click to open the image in a new folder, and then save and print.


Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

"Assume ambiguity" is the advice my Psychoanalytic supervisor gave me about my clients when I was in practice. People would come for therapy, saying that they wanted to change (a behavior, a situation, ...)but they also wanted to NOT change. Ambivalence. We're full of it.

Thanks for the quotes. I think I like the first Matisse quote the best, but I'm going to think more about them. I'm ambivalent about it, I guess.

Art Matters said...

Thanks for these Casey - and for spoon-feeding us with the text to save!
I feel much like Paul Klee - painting often does keep one from crying.

Casey Klahn said...

Hi, carol. I love that term spoonfeeding - it reminds me of my days in the army. I want to put up docs for all of my quote posts - maybe I'll put them on the tabs below the banner.

It was hard to get the doc right. In the end, I had to make them into a pdf, then dragged into google documents, then save as an image, then uploaded to blogger.

I like the Paul Klee quote the best, too.

Casey Klahn said...

That's a good story, Kvan. I hate ambiguity in life, but am learning the place it has in art making. Probably why I put this together, and tried to include some tangents as well.

Can ambiguity have tangents?

Karin Goeppert said...

Thanks so much for the quotes.

I guess for me it works this way: AT THE MOMENT!!! I like Keith Urban's quote best. But tomorrow?? We will see!

And Klee was right: Painting definitely helps.

Casey Klahn said...

Thanks for commenting, Karin. Degas said something similar to Keith Urban, but I think the singer has said it best.

hw (hallie) farber said...

Great quotes and I can't pick a favorite. I printed a copy; thank you.

Casey Klahn said...

Welcome, Hallie.

Jean Spitzer said...

Wonderful selection.

Casey Klahn said...

Thanks, Jean.

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