Why art? In the last post I recounted all artistic contributions of the inhabitants of New Mexico for the last thousand years or so. Until the last century, they were almost all artworks related to the spiritual world of the various people groups. I would suggest the same is true for modern inhabitants as well. While many are not exploring the formal faith of their fathers, most are exploring the mystery and wonder of the world in which we live. Georgia O'Keeffe had little use for the Presbyterians who would one day own her beloved Ghost Ranch, but claimed she talked to God (even securing a "deed" for her beloved Pedernal from the almighty in exchange for her many paintings of it). Black Cross, New Mexico was a commentary on the Spanish influence that dominates the horizon here. One reason, perhaps the major reason, the art is such a integral part of life and culture is that people have always been intrigued by many mysteries of life. What could it all mean? We all may have different answers, but we all share a wonder and awe when we look deep into the night sky or sit on a hillside to take in the dawn glow. Art is a way to take it all in and explore it on a sensory level in a way that can be shared with others. Why art? On reason is exploring and expressing the spirit of life, both human and/or divine.
Tom C. McGee, Jr.
Musings about mystery, art and spirituality.