Culture/ART – Therapy for the Soul

A home without ART is just an empty space

Joseph Kyle - Radiance #1, 2002, acrylic on canvas, 96 x 72 inches

Joseph Kyle – Radiance #1, 2002, acrylic on canvas, 96 x 72 inches

“There is a point where beauty meets truth,

Where wisdom meets delight,

Where heaven meets earth,

It is to this vision of the sublime

That my painting aspires.” –  Joseph Kyle

 

What is art for?  We’re discovering that Art can act like therapy for the soul.  This makes perfect sense to me.  Different paintings evoke different feelings in each individual & have the ability to move you the same way that hearing a certain song makes you feel.  And, as everything tastes better with the right wine, everything looks better with the right ART.

The American Art Therapy Association describes art therapy as “a mental health profession” that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behaviour, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight.” Now there’s a new book on the subject, appropriately entitled “Art as Therapy.”

artastherapyArt as Therapy is packed with 150 examples of outstanding art, architecture and design, while chapters on Love, Nature, Money and Politics show how art can help with many common difficulties, from forging good relationships, finding happiness, to coming to terms with mortality.  This book seeks to help us develop a deeper understanding of art and of ourselves in equal measure, providing fascinating reading for those who are familiar with art as well as those who are new to the subject.         About:                  

    Art as Therapy at Home

Written by Alain de Botton (author and founder of The School of Life) and John Armstrong (philosopher & art theorist), showing us how to look at and understand art in a completely novel way. In 2014, they will be guest curating both at the Art Gallery of Ontario and at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum according to this new framework. And below, Alain shows us how, in an ideal world, he might curate the walls of a home. Fascinating stuff that makes us re-think how we might approach hanging art in our own surroundings.

Why does it matter what’s on the walls of our homes? Our sensitivity to our surroundings can be traced back to a troubling feature of human psychology: to the way we harbor within us many different selves, not all of which feel equally like ‘us’, so much so that in certain moods, we can complain of having come adrift from what we judge to be our true selves – in part, because the walls look wrong

Unfortunately, the self we miss at such moments, the elusively authentic, creative and spontaneous side of our character, is not ours to summon at will. Our access to it is, to a humbling extent, determined by the places we happen to be in, by the color of the bricks, the height of the ceilings and the art on the wall. In a house strangled by three motorways, or with drab wallpaper or in a wasteland of rundown tower blocks, our optimism and sense of purpose are liable to drain away, like water from a punctured container. We may start to forget that we ever had ambitions or reasons to feel spirited and hopeful.

We depend on the art in our surroundings obliquely to embody the moods and ideas we respect and then to remind us of them. We arrange around us material forms which communicate to us what we need – but are at constant risk of forgetting we need – within.  Art can help us in many ways; identified below are a few descriptions & suggestions of where one might hang them.”

Hope in the Kitchen

Henri Matisse, Dance (II), 1909; State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

Henri Matisse, Dance (II), 1909; State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

“Matisse shows us an ideal image of women dancing in solidarity and joy. The French painter was not in denial of the troubles of this planet. But he wished to encourage us in an attitude of optimism, which he knew it can be hard for us to nurture and hold on to.

We should be able to enjoy an ideal image without regarding it as a false picture of how things usually are. A beautiful, though partial, vision can be all the more precious to us because we are so aware of how rarely life goes as we would like it to. We should be able to enjoy Matisse’s dancers without fearing that we are thereby colluding with a subterfuge played on a gullible public. The ideal it stands for is genuinely noble.

If the world were a kinder place than it is, perhaps we would be less impressed by, and in need of, pretty works of art. One of the strangest features of experiencing art is its power, occasionally, to move us to tears, not when we are presented with a harrowing or terrifying image, but when we see a work of particular grace and loveliness which can be, for a moment, heartbreaking. Matisse’s dancers might do this to us. What is happening to us at these special times of intense responsiveness to beauty? We are recognizing an ideal to which we are deeply attached, but from which we are too often alienated. The work of art helps us to see how much is missing and how deeply we would like things to be nicer than they are.

Rebalancing in the Dining Room

Hiroshi Sugimoto, North Atlantic Ocean, Cliffs of Moher, 1989; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York picture © Hiroshi Sugimoto, courtesy Pace Gallery

Hiroshi Sugimoto, North Atlantic Ocean, Cliffs of Moher, 1989; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York picture © Hiroshi Sugimoto, courtesy Pace Gallery.

“In Sugimoto’s photograph of the North Atlantic, we are in an undefined still vastness made up of only sea and sky.  A tranquil state of mind is supremely valuable in connection with many of the lesser troubles of life. Our capacity to get infuriated (and hence, usually, make matters worse by flying off the handle) is often driven by a refusal to accept how things are. Another person simply isn’t very interested in what we think; the world is not going to re-organize itself in sensible ways; the traffic just will be maddeningly slow, the train over-crowded. At times, we should know how to close down our hopes and give ourselves over to the contemplation of all that we will never be able to alter, here symbolized by the even, pure tones of an eternal horizon.  Sugimoto hasn’t just photographed the sea. He has provided us with a work that captures an attitude of mind to be summoned up at times of trial.”

LIVING ROOM – FOR THE SOUL:

Collectible Art by an original – Canadian Artist Joseph Kyle (1923-2005)

Delve within yourself to feel something that is incapable of expression in any but purely visual terms.  These paintings awaken your spirit.  It is to experience all without limits, it is to be infinite.  It is beyond categories.

Epiphany #5, 2003, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 48 inches.

Epiphany #5, 2003, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 48 inches.

Kyle’s background in contemporary classical music composition was a key inspiration to how he approached painting.  His ideas came from inside and not from an external reference. The composer must invent his form – he does not have a tree or a figure to copy, this form is drawn and realized from within.

Coherence in form, structure, shape, idea, colour and movement – each having a clear intentional relationship to the other.  Some might have categorized his work as geometric colour-field abstraction but Kyle rejected this term, preferring instead to using the word “Synoptics” – a description he originated and felt best represented his work.  Unique in concept, Syn-optics refers to “seeing as a whole.”  It is the ability to synthesize shape and colour on an equal footing and not as one reflecting or enhancing another. Kyle’s work forces the viewer to perceive an entire painting as an interactive whole rather than an assembly of individual compositional devices.  Symmetry, in Kyle’s hands, is not a compositional device.  It is a primal act whereby the chaos of the blank canvas is brought to order and activated.  The result is veil-like and ethereal.  Powerful.  The spiritual connotations of transparency are manifold. It evokes transcendence, purity, perfection of soul.

Synoptica

Synoptica #19, acrylic on canvas, 2002, 72 x 60 inches.

 The Canadian Cultural Review Board designated Joseph Kyle’s paintings as having “outstanding significance and national importance.” Kyle’s work has been collected for a number of important private and corporate collections throughout Canada. He is represented exclusively by Vancouver based Elan Fine Art Ltdhttp://www.elanfineart.ca  604.568.5709

Art Therapy – taken from goop magazine #12

Joseph Kyle – taken from a 22 page article written by Debra Usher for Arabella Magazine (Canadian Art, Architecture & Design).

Book Review: ‘When I read through Art as Therapy, paintings that I had long admired suddenly became new when seen through the filter of self-awareness and exploration. Really, a gem of a book.’  Gwyneth Paltrow, goop.com

Side note: Doctors noted that individuals suffering from mental illness often expressed themselves in drawings and other artworks, which led many to explore the use of art as a healing strategy.

What about you?  How do these make you feel?  

 

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