Alive and making art

by Paul Burmeister

At end of editor Jerry Weiss' master class on Cezanne's Boy in a Red Waistcoat, he makes this statement: "The idea that revelation can be found in supplication to art is the stuff of romantic novels. Neither the dogma of schools nor independent research leads an artist to transcendence. I know something I did not as a young man: that art alone may not be a means to enlightenment, but it is a profound symbol of the spiritual journey." (Artists Magazine, December 2014)
In the last two days I've talked with artist friends who are at mature stages of their career, and we've reflected on the things Weiss writes about—art and its role in revelation, transcendence and spiritual journey. My guess is that most mature artists, looking back over their careers of searching and making, looking back at the celebrations and struggles and acquisitions and doubts, come to a place where they realize that art alone is not the truth and transcendent meaning of their lives. They manage the reality that art resides within or very close to the center of the whole that is truth and meaningfulness.