Sunday, January 23, 2005
We can see the future look at any two year old!
From the 'modern' to the 'post modern'?
Art has away of reflecting its time or, in the case of the really creative, anticipating the future. For artists who are ahead of their times it is not an easy road as was the case of artists such as Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh. Both would be surprised (or depressed) at the prices people now pay for their paintings.
During their lifetime the all knowing and judging elite of the day rejected them because they did not fit in with 'their' criteria or what they consider to be 'exemplars' of quality art. These all knowing elites still exist today and we ought to be careful not to always follow their advice.
Creative teachers know this feeling of being ‘judged’ well, as they battle with comprising their integrity to comply with imposed curriculums and assessment tasks. Many are forced to live ‘double lives’; doing enough of what is expected so they can get on with what is really important - helping students develop their talents, dreams and passions. The really creative teachers have long left the profession.
The artist Mondrian abstracted natural form like trees to create what now represents ‘modern art’ – pure objectivity. His paintings could also be said to be seen as a metaphor to represent the strands and objectives of current standardized 'modern' curriculums. Mondrian's art, his grids and pure lines, although upsetting at the time, can now be seen throughout our modern cities today, representing the de-personalization’/ globalization of us all.
Jackson Pollock led us back to pure expressionism and subjectivity and painted, as unconsciously as he could, a world of ambiguity, serendipity and strange shapes. His ‘post modern’ expressionistic art represents could well represent a metaphor of the complex and chaotic future that faces us all. Our success in this complex future, of difficult to see relationship and patterns, will depend not on pre planned road-maps (or plans) but on our courage and ability to take advantage of what ever comes our way.
Every person has to abstract out the patterns in their lives so as to make sense of things for themselves, as did Mondrian, but it is not possible to follow others plans unthinkingly. The future is too messy for that.
Educators need to ask themselves what future attributes will their students need to thrive in such an unpredictable but potentially exciting future?
The answer lies within our reach – just watch any active two year old. At this age they still retain them all!