Inspiration,Integration and Originality

Influences in art are inevitable.  With that I ask myself is anything really original?  Or are all the experiences shared and wonderful components of an evolving creative whole in which we move toward discovering a kindred spirit?

In looking at and reading a bit about the history of Japanese art I see this idea in action through the following works by the famous Post Impressionist Paul Cezzane and the 15th century Japanese artist Shesshu Toyo.  To me there is an uncanny resemblance and use of line and form to create perspective and tell a story about an experience.

What is that is so compelling about nature?  Why the call to express our experience with it in a two-dimensional manner?  What is it that we are trying to convey and why the similarities?

It’s continually amazing to me to observe the apparent sophistication of “man” through the ages.  So many times I am brought to pause our inherit nature and vast similarity even though hundreds or thousands of years may have passed.  One could take a further look at the meaning of “advancement” and “evolution”. If you strip away time…what does this look like?

The Sainte Victoire – Paul Cezzane

Cezzane The Sainte Victoire

View of Gardanne – by Paul Cezzane

Cezzane View of Gardanne

Autumn Landscape – by Sesshu Toyo

Sesshe Toyo 1420-1506 Autumn Landscape

The magnificence of these paintings go without saying each artist in his own right a gifted story-teller.  What do we learn from this?  I think I come away with more questions and an interest in digging deeper.  I wonder how “different” we really are as I see a 15th century master that is not so different from the more well-known 19th/20th century master.

Although we may be physically worlds apart and in time years apart, our perceived originality may be just that, a perception.

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