August 23rd, 2008
A painting by André Enard appearing in An Art of Our Own by Roger Lipsey.
Number 27, 1975, oil and goldleaf on wood (black-and-white reproduction).
“What are we looking at? A geometry that recalls both the Platonic ‘perfect figures’ and Tantric designs, the image of the labyrinth rendered as a looping intestinal pattern, gestational images of seed and egg — drawn into a whole by craftsmanship that brings to mind the skills of jeweler and icon-maker” (Lipsey, p414).
Enard writes, in a 1987 letter to the author, “Most manifestations of art today lack good common sense, lack relation with a higher reality, and lack spiritual purpose.
“What can there be of value without a search into oneself, linked to essential knowledge?
“Isn’t the ultimate desire of human beings to perceive an order of laws that surpasses us yet is also within us, and to participate in that order?
“Isn’t the role of the artist to reflect on and to reflect back something of this greater order, for the sake of stimulating the viewer to reconstruct the original idea?
“Isn’t this quest the purpose, conscious or unconscious, of all artistic effort?
“To try to grasp the soul, that which animates each thing at its source!
“Finally, what seems most important in the process of painting is the quality of feeling that the artist conveys by doing what he does, no matter what subject he chooses; and then, the care he takes and the quality of attention he communicates, which may arouse the same quality in the viewer.
“When that quality of energy is there, it can be felt — it is palpable, visible in the canvas. It has an action; one is touched, and one can glimpse the reality behind appearances.
“The act of painting can be understood as an act of contemplation, of meditation, through which the artist can rediscover and remember what is laid down in his deepest nature, his primal consciousness — and by that very means summon the same in response from the viewer” (p415-6).