In philosophy of mind, naïve realism, also known as direct realism, is the idea that the senses provide us with a primary awareness of objects as they really are, but our learning and our beliefs transforms this direct view into a secondary experience in our powers of perception. An original way of sensing objects is therefore considered to be hidden from us in day-to-day life by the way our intelligence transforms older impulses of mind, and the view generated for us by the intellect is built upon previously acquired ideas rather than direct experience. This implies their must have once been, and probably still is, a primary awareness at work in the depth of our minds, and that this process has become suppressed by a behavioural response that works to remove any perceptual impulses that we inherit from our distant ancestors. In other words, we respond to what we see around us to remove any recall of a naïve way of sensing that has become redundant and lost to us behind the ideas we learn to project over all we see and do. In art this theory equates to the idea that guiding material to create a work of art suppress any hint of the original view, which is at it's most powerful when the artist acts spontaneously to create an object that holds no intelligent or intellectual meaning or value.



Naïve Realism



At the core of modern art lies the need for the freedom to act in a raw natural way rather than through controlled learned technique. This shifts the emphasis on artistic endeavour from that of an aesthetic intellectual consideration of ordered thought to that of a behavioural response to a natural impulse of mind. Aesthetic intellectual consideration has always been upheld to be the goal of artistic achievement rather than intuitive raw response, and the idea of beauty, that was always associated to the concept of art, has never been considered to be the outcome of a need to suppress recall of our older way of sensing. It was never understood that we have evolved from animal origins and so no one entertained the idea that we inherit other older ways of sensing the world that are now overwritten and suppressed by our capacity of mind. I will be asserting that when we ‘feel’ any recall of animal instinct within our ordered intellectual view of the world we sense it as a disagreeable sensation, and the response of intelligence is to remove this ‘feeling’ by attracting us to find, or impose, ordered patterns into what surrounds us. We look for the shapes of faces and figures in twisted tree roots or in wind eroded rocks, and artists paint pictures, carve sculpture, compose music, etc. because this removes a sensation that revealed everything through animal instinct. Basically, my thesis is that the aesthetic concept of beautiful in art is an emotional response generated by the intellect that helps us reduce the influence of the remains of an older redundant way of looking.

Aesthetically, as I wander around an art gallery, or listen to music in a concert hall, I get the sensation that I am here because I need to remove an experience of mind that is coarse, vulgar, and totally void of the qualities created by art. You might say I am here, surrounding myself with ‘art’ to try to lift myself above my earthly place in life, and I am drawn to art galleries, concert halls, or whatever, because these establishments elevate me above the mundane. I also get this ‘feeling’ when I go to the cinema, watch television, or settle down to read a good book. My mind retreats from the harsh reality of the real world and, for a time, I am elated into the realms of fantasy and the imagination. It seems, at first glance, that art is about directing our awareness of the world away from a raw experience to a deeper aesthetic of visual, tactile, or auditory awareness, and some claim this is because of the influence of divine intervention from a greater mind at work in the universe. We humans sense the aesthetic beauty within the wonderment of creation because we are blessed with a 'spiritual' insight, and people struggle in life, as they do in art galleries, to ‘lift’ themselves above an ignorant savage world because we are chosen creatures. Other, lesser beasts, are assumed to possess no possibility of appreciating the aesthetic value of creation because they have not been endowed with the ability to comprehend the world around them as we do.

Animals don’t appreciate art, and I say this because my dog does not seem at all interested in admiring the sunsets painted by Joseph Mallord William Turner. Nor can I convince myself that earthworms crawl in the soil to appreciate the beautiful walled gardens created by Lancelot Capability Brown. Dogs and Worms seem to live with a very different experience of the world than that appreciated by those who wonder at nineteenth century romantic paintings, or wander around eighteenth century landscape gardens. Few of us imagine any ‘lowly’ beasts possess any idea of aesthetic values in their perception of the world, and so an appreciation of art, like belief in religion, is held to be a display of a unique quality of human thought.

However, I have never considered myself to be blessed – if it is a blessing – by this idea of the illusion of grandeur that I am told has been given to me by my creator. I am an ignoramus in a world that upholds the idea of ‘God’ and ‘Art’ as qualities attained through the intellect. Nothing pisses me off more than to be told art is a ‘high’ achievement of the cleaver mind, or to be pestered on my doorstep by a devotee of a faith who thinks everyone else should believe in the words revealed through their interpretation of scripture. Both assertions assume the paint and canvas of a picture, or the ink and parchment of scripture, creates a meaning that is more than the sum total of the parts. I have always been cursed with the view that our minds create mental impressions that we express through language because the reality of what confronts us is raw and meaningless, and what you actually experience is a construct of your imagination that has evolved to transform a natural way of sensing objects and events into a learned view.

When you look at an object or witness an event you don’t experience the raw reality of what confronts you because you bring to mind ideas and opinions that you learn to impose over your original impulse. You are born to acquire this ability to look at the world through ideas, NOT to respond intuitively to the reality of what faces you, and this is no more obvious than when you look at a painting or read scripture. You look at paint upon canvas, or words on paper, and what you admire in a painted image, or read into the words, is an illusion of wishful thinking. You imagine an image, or conceive of the word of god, because this response suppresses the raw reality of what confronts you, and this observation not only applies to looking at pictures, or reading scripture. We look out upon the world and generate in our minds a way of thinking – through images, words, numbers, formulas, etc. - that gives us the assurance that we understand what surrounds us, but just as when we recognise a painted picture by ignoring the raw paint and canvas, our very way of comprehending the world itself is a construct of our cleaver minds. For most of us it seems clear that our cleaver minds reveal the world around us as it actually is, but some of us question this assurance, and we cannot help but think our cleaver minds transform, rather than reveal, another older way of comprehension that once sensed without reasoned thoughts.

The universe could just as easily be meaningless as meaningful and, biologically, the ideas we learn to think up about what we see, just like the stories we tell, or the pictures we paint, directs our experiences away from a ‘lower’ sensation of mind that once looked through instinct. Our intelligent minds have evolved to work this way because cleaver thinking offers a greater chance of survival, but this mutation of mind could be propelling us away from an original experience of our surroundings. For any artist concerned with taking raw material and moulding it into a work of art, the question arises as to whether-or-not the arrangement of paint, words, stone, or music, etc. reveals a natural experience of mind, or have your actions destroyed the original impulses through the creation of an artificially conceived view?

And don’t think for one minute that science is immune to this loss of an original view through the transformation of sensual input into the language of mathematics. Science deals with empirical facts, but do the facts reveal what surrounds us, or do they give us a picture that turns rawness into another form of measurable pattern? One could argue that our measure is not that of the universe but of our own making, and it is a delusional to think you have the capacity of mind to measure all things. Science works to manufacture this measure of all things but this removes a view that can only be experienced when you fail to understand what you look at. Just as with religious beliefs and artistic images, science fills your mind with an cleaver way of thinking rather than a natural view, but there is no reason that the universe should adhere in any way to any pattern we can conceive within it. We could be recognising patterns NOT because they are there but because pattern recognition is the only way we know how to look? Whatever science deems probable can only be verified as one possible interpretation in a place that may be infinitely unfathomable; we look into the night sky and dream up astrological signs, or seek to model the cosmos with precise measurement, because these ideas remove an underlying experience of mind that once sensed without this need for assured understanding. What we believe in, or discover, creates an experience of mind that we assume is in some way more significant than the view that exists without this insight. What, one might wonder, does the universe look like through instincts that requires no knowledge of your surroundings to survive? This is a view we no longer ‘feel’ because we look to remove it from our minds, but for some of us the way we have evolved to think destroys a natural way of sensing. Our belief in our ability to understand our surroundings through intelligent learned ideas drives us to conceive the universe can be reasoned through some sort of mythical, religious, scientific, or philosophical belief, but the fact that we think we can measure the universe, or dream-up ideas about it, might turn out to be an illusion of our own making. If everything we see, or could ever come to know, is beyond our capacity of mind then what surrounds us is a fearful ‘feeling’ of the unknown that drives us to find more and more ideas to push uncertainty further and further from our thoughts. From this point of view traditional art, religion, science, and philosophy create world views that work to remove the sensation of the unknown rather than look at it, and in all cases we respond to find patterns in the world around us to suppress the old ‘animal’ experience of uncertainty our ancestors lived with.

Art has, until the advent of modern times, followed this pattern of thought that generates a learned view rather than a natural response, and we now live with beliefs of one sort or another; either religious disciplines that believe they can aspire to understand our place in the universe through faith in a grand designer, or scientific enquiry that believes it can arrive at a model of the universe by formulating precise measurement and mathematical formula, or philosophical reasoning that believes we can conceive the nature of existence between idealism and materialism. Our beliefs remove the sensation of being surrounded by an unknown place that can never be fathomed, and so people look at art, religion, science, or many other things, for assurance rather than uncertainty. What we need to realise is that regardless of the system of belief that is adopted there is this raw reality that we look to remove from our perception of every object and event that surrounds us. A view that our most distant ancestors lived with and that has now become redundant in the depth of our minds. A view that now disturbs us if we get even the slightest recall of it, and most of us shiver at the thought that there was once a way of looking at objects and events that was void of understanding.

In art this sensation of uncertainty and not knowing has always been suppressed by the techniques developed to create precise controlled products like paintings, sculpture, music, dance, and stories. These objects have always worked to remove, rather than reveal, uncertainty and only in modern times have some artists challenged this working procedure. Some modern artists try to defy all established ideas as to what is acceptable as art because this is the only way to rekindle redundant perception. To present art that cannot be understood and holds no skilled workmanship or meaning is the only way to provoke a return of the sensation of not knowing that our distant ancestors once experienced in their view of their surroundings. To create this ‘feeling’ of uncertainty and not knowing means presenting anything as art, and understanding that art is a way of looking without all the learned ideas we impose over what we see. We are born to remove this sensation rather than live with it, but epistemologically, there will always be a limit to what we can know. There will always be a sense of the unknown, and the question that arises, at least for the modern artist, is one of whether-or-not you should limit your ideas to create understandable work, or try to create something beyond your control that cannot be understood. This principle is what distinguishes modern art from the traditional idea of art, and from the beliefs of science, religion, and philosophy.

One of the most interesting developments to come out of modern art was about findings ways of acting in a raw natural way rather than in a controlled learned way. Creating objects that defy categorisation and cannot be understood allows a deeper insight into how we comprehend what surrounds us, and attempts began to emerge to find ways to create, or find, objects that had to be looked at without the imposition of learned knowledge. It was realised that art created by NOT guiding the paint, clay, sound, or movement, brings back to mind an older way of sensing by instinct, but the way our minds have evolved now drives us to reject this experience; we are born to learn to believe in our ideas, and control material to express these ideas, rather than to experience by intuition and instinct.

Creating something that cannot be understood offers an alternative way of sensing the world, and is related to recall of an animal state of mind. This view frightens most people because it relies on instinctive response rather than reasoned thought. In art instinctive response translates to throwing paint, presenting raw clay, unordered sound, or jumbled movement, and is an act of rebellion against all established working practices. This type of art generates an animal view rather than an intelligent intellectual learned way of thinking, and this creates art that avoids meaningful ideas. Art created by instinct does not try to say anything, holds no recognisable content or decorative value, and it’s purpose is to place a raw experience in front if us. However, because our minds have evolved to suppress this experience, we now find this an uncomfortable ‘feeling’ and anything that removes rather than reveals our ideas and beliefs about what we see is often decried as false art. We seek to find ‘safe’ experiences created for us through the ideas we learn to apply to what surrounds us, and so we look for recognisable ‘art’ that has something meaningful to say. The alternative is to think like an animal and accept that there is no meaning to life other than to survive and reproduce, but this is unacceptable to human beings who need to create beliefs and values that impose purpose into their existence.

We are born to learn to conceive of ideas that remove a view generated by instinct, and because of this way our minds have evolved we now look to suppress any attempt to experience what confronts us without ideas. Art created without meaning or purpose creates a ‘feeling’ of ‘mindlessness’ and is rejected, rather than looked at as an attempt to return our powers of perception back to an original natural view. Of course most of us will decry any suggestion that the universe is meaningless and has to be sensed in an instinctive way, and we do this because we no longer know how to live with the view created by instinct. To look through instinct requires not understanding, but our problem is we seem incapable of conceiving of such a ‘mindless’ experience. We belittle blind response as something that should be controlled, and we cage wild animals to ‘tame’ them, and to bring the natural world under our command. This is how we have evolved to survive, but what we should see is that blind response is an alternative way of sensing, that might seems undesirable, but our distant ancestors once lived within this state of mind. We should realise that all our learning has evolved to STOP us looking in a natural instinctive way, and, therefore, we ‘tame’ nature to remove, rather than live with, an original sensation that was once an integral part of our existence. This wildness of animal survival is lost to us because our learning cannot conceive of the instinctive thought processes, and the very way we now look at everything drives us to find ideas that destroy a rich original ‘animal’ experience of mind.

For the perceptive modern artist, once you realise your mind works to remove a natural way of sensing through instinct, your task becomes one of trying to create objects that bring a return of this long lost experience. You come to see that you are trying to look in a different way to the view created through learned ideas, and unlike the disciplines used to uphold the traditional ideas of art, science, or religion, you are not seeking purpose, meaning, or explanation. These values destroy the experience of not knowing that underlies your cleaver mind, and your aim becomes one of finding a way to create an object that defies reason. You do this because the experience you seek to create is one of a unity with a part of your mind that once looked in a natural raw way without learned ideas.

The true power of modern art lies in this experience of creating an object that forces you to look without knowing what it is you look at, and this opens a whole new insight concerning how we go about comprehending objects and events. You turn away from learning the established formula for creating art through traditional learned technique that demands recognisable pictures, stories, or whatever, and you begin to search for ways to create unfathomable objects through intuition and instinct. This is what distinguishes a modern artist – who understands this view - from a traditionalist; who works to create controlled results within an established framework of learned ideas.

Facing the unfathomable, and realising you need to learn NOT to understand what you do, is what modern art arose to explore, but not all artists are aware of this view. Because of this, charlatans make objects for commercial reasons, and you need to look for artists who avoid the market mentality and work to create ‘art’ that cannot be classified or understood. This criteria of looking to NOT understand is unique to modern art , and distinguishes the discipline from traditional art and from science and the religions; where the emphasis is on the value of explanation. Most art critics and theorists fall into the trap of trying to explain modern art, but modern art is different to all other disciplines in that it requires you to experience without understanding. This defies reasoned thought, and the only way to get to grips with the sensation of modern art is to realise you are reaching out to what little remains in your mind of a redundant way of sensing that can ONLY be rekindled when you cannot fathom what you are looking at. This is an ‘animal’ experience of mind, but to sense it you need to adopt a different way of looking at the world to what you have been taught to believe in.

For example; think of a painter who arranges paint into a recognisable image of a landscape. The finished painting creates a sensation of controlled ordered thought, and the image can be criticised and explained because you know how to read the information it contains: you know how to associate the blobs of paint that have been arranged to look like clouds, mountains, trees, or whatever. This association of a real world experience to an imaginary picture formed in the paint destroys the ‘real’ experience of what you look at. The painted landscape becomes a substitute for a more disturbing direct sensation that the paint and canvas could provoke from the depth of your mind, and you will find your mind craves to find a recognisable image rather than stand and stare at the uncertainty of raw paint. We all respond this way because our minds have evolved to suppress the ‘animal’ sensation we all ‘feel’ when we fail to recognise an image. We suppress the experience of not knowing by generating an illusion of our own making, and the painter creates an image of a landscape that gives us a comfortable belief in what we look at that removes the disturbing effect of rawness that is an inherent view we all look to suppress in the depth of our minds.

We look for a knowable image of the world, which, in the case of painting is represented by the learned language of picture making, but this hides the reality of what confronts us; which is a world of meaningless blogs and smudges of paint that are without language and cannot be understood. If our painter tries to show you this other world, by throwing the paint at the canvas, we start to respond to the loss of language, and we begin to get recall of an uncomfortable ‘feeling’ that is provoked by a glimpse into an unknown arena of our mind that once sensed by animal instinct. Most reject this ‘animal’ experience by simply stating that anything presented without design is NOT art, but this misses the point. These individuals use the traditional definition of the word ‘art’ to remove any uncertainty about what they see, but the purpose of modern ‘art’ is to create uncertainty, and a painting made with blobs and dribbles of paint with no recognisable image brings recall of this sensation back to mind.

We have evolved to suppress this experience, and we find ourselves looking for recognisable images in the runs and dribbles of paint without realising this is a behavioural response that has developed to remove the ‘animal’ sensation that looks into, and lives with, an experience of the world beyond learned recognition. This experience is the sensation that the painter creates by throwing paint at a canvas rather than guiding it, but your mind will try to suppress this experience. You will search to find recognisable content, and you often find people imagining all manner of strange creatures, distorted faces, or tortured figures, in the runs and dribbles of paint. We all imagine these fantastic things because our minds work to invent images to remove the disturbing glimpse into the unknown that is provoked by recall of a view generated by a redundant way of sensing. By looking towards NOT understanding what you do brings a return to mind of primal recall of what little remains of this older ‘animal’ way of sensing, and for some modern artists this reveals a very different approach to the idea of the purpose of art.

From this point of view, creating art with a mind full of artistic learning, scientific ideas, or religious beliefs, destroys any possibility of getting a glimpse of what I can only describe to you as the ‘animal’ nature of the artist’s soul. This ‘soul’ is not like the spiritual concept that is normally associated to the word, but is a glimpse into an infinite and inconceivable part of the mind that is the remains of a way of sensing the world that once generated a view without any need to understand. This ‘animal’ view is easily destroyed by traditional working procedures that create recognisable paintings, sculpture, music, and dance, and to look into this depth of what little remains of your ‘animal’ mind you have to remove all the ideas you have learned to project over all you see and do. To glimpse a way of looking with no idea of what you are looking requires you to act by instinct and to create objects without purpose or design. This brings a sense of uncertainty and incomprehension back to mind, and one can only assume our distant ancestors began to create art with purpose and design - recognisable images, sculpture, music, dance, etc. - to remove, rather than reveal the uncertainty that faced them in the real world. In other words, our distant ancestors created art to help their minds suppress an original way of looking.

Now, you may think an animal way of sensing the world would be an undesirable thing to want to bring back into mind. Why try to experience the world through instinct when being 'possessed' or 'blessed' by intelligent intellectual ideas gives us a greater chance of survival. This is undeniably true, I can look and admire the moon in the night sky, and understand what this satellite is and the effect it has upon the earth, but my dog holds no such idea. He sometimes howls at the moon, but I don't think this is because he is contemplating the orbital velocity and gravitational effect created by this satellite as it passes across the night sky above his head. And as for Earthworms in the soil, if they 'feel' the pull of the moon they have little possibility of ever conceiving the object that brings this force into their earthly abode. They have not the capacity of mind to comprehend ideas about the universe as we do, but here is the strange thing; to conceive all our cleaver ideas we have to suppress an instinctive way of sensing that ‘lower’ life forms live with, and the question that arises for the artist is one of asking if learning destroys an original view. Do paintings, sculpture, music, or dance, create an artificial sense of order and control in your mind that suppresses the remains of a natural way of looking? Indeed, does the very way we have evolved to think and act DESTROY our natural state of mind?

For an artist these questions reveal that there are two ways of sensing the world around us. One way is very old and looks through animal instinct, whilst the other way is relatively new, in biological evolutionary time, and looks through intelligent learned ideas, and it seems the new way has evolved to suppress the old view. This gives some of us the ‘feeling’ that the way we conceive of the objects and events is lacking in intensity, and so the artists rearranges paint, clay, sound, or movement to try to bring this intensity back into their view of the world. What the modern artist realises, that the traditionalist fails to comprehend, is that controlling and guiding material to create a work of art transforms how we comprehend what confronts us. The reality of what surrounds us presents a natural experience, but the ideas we think up to conceive of this natural experience creates an artificial view.

This contrast between ideas we use to conceive of the world, and the reality that actually confronts us is more exaggerated in art than in day-to-day life. For example; An En plein air painter claims they paint in the open air because it brings a natural freshness to their work, but this is an illusion because what is natural is the reality of the canvas and paint that they confront BEFORE they begin to impose an image upon it. The image draws your mind away from the real world to an imaginative place, and the strange thing is when I see an En plein air artist painting a picture in a field I can’t help but think here is someone who looks at reality and works to suppress the real experience behind an artificial image. For the painting to be ‘natural’ it would have to refer to nothing other than unguided shapes and colours. It would have to avoid the ‘picture’ created by the language of recognisable images, and then the En plein air artist would see the painting they have created in a natural ‘animal’ way as part of a world of ‘real’ things. Of course, this En plein air painter would be classed as an abstract artist, even through the ‘reality’ of painting is paint and canvas and not the idea that the artist imposes upon these materials that directs our mind to some imaginary world. But what if our En plein air painter does something completely out of character? What if our painter throws the paint on the ground? Now she, or he, has stopped their mind imposing controlled ordered images over the work and our painter is faced with an object that creates uncertainty and not knowing. The paint upon the ground contains no ideas to direct our mind away from raw experience, and what this artist has done is create an object that provokes, rather than removes, the remains of the instinctive natural sensation that we inherit from our 'animal' origins.

None of us are immune to this act of hiding the raw experience of what confronts us behind the imposition of ideas. All our minds have evolved to unconsciously respond to suppress what remains of an animal inheritance of direct raw experience that once looked at reality without ideas. We all inherit this old way of sensing, but we all learn, at a very early age, to replace this raw experience with learned ideas. In this modern age some of us have become more aware of the psychological implications of this process, and the ideas we come to believe in directs us to try to look without any learned idea of what it is we are looking at. To do this a modern artist has to create an object that removes all known values and stop allowing subjects like religion, decoration, commercial enterprise, or traditional subjects, to dictate a useful end result. The artist has to stand alone and present work that upholds no reference to any known idea, and, in art, this means abandoning the traditional belief the art is created through craftsmanship, perfection, and storytelling. Removing these values from the work brings a paradigm shift in our understanding of what art should look like. Out has gone the perfect pictures and the orchestrated sounds and in has come the splashes of paint and uncontrolled noise, and this shift in working procedure has occurred because our understanding of our belief in our place in nature has changed from that of beings who imagined we were gifted from above to an awareness that we have mutated from animal beginnings.

We had once believed our ideas were unquestionable, and that our intellect revealed the true nature of the world because we had been placed in a purposefully design universe with the blessing of reasoned thought. Our job was to glorify the creation, but now some of us see ourselves as having emerged from within an unguided event where complex forms have evolved through adaptations arising through chance and accident. Anthropology, Archaeology, Genetics, and Evolution have now made it difficult for the enlightened amongst us to believe in the preordained designer at work in the universe, and this doubt has had a profound effect upon the idea of art. In place of the unquestionable ‘spiritual’ soul has arise the realisation that we inherit an ‘animal’ soul that once sensed the world through instinct. This experience is now buried in the depth of our minds by the intellectual ideas we conceive to give explanation to our lives and our surroundings, but, in relation to art, this means that all the cleaver explanation that has been imposed upon the art experience buries, rather than exposes, the remains of the true nature of our need to create art in the first place.

As an artists I sense the loss of an old way of sensing through instinct, and because modern understanding of our human origins tells me my distant ancestors must have looked at the world through a power of perception that they possessed before our capacity of mind emerged, I suspect all the cleaver ideas we now conceive in day-to-day life work to STOP any recall of the original view. This implies we have evolved to look at the world in a learned way, and if you are a person who realises your mind works to stop you looking through instinct you begin to sense that your experience of your natural soul is lost to intellectual learned thought. Every idea in your mind creates an artificial view, and you set to work to find ways to remove the ideas you impose over what surrounds you. You look to create art as a natural instinctive response rather than an artificial product of learned technique, but this requires making objects that avoid intellectual intelligent interpretation. Until modern times artists worked to destroy natural instinctive response, and this seems to imply the traditional techniques of art arose to suppress, rather than reveal, our original experience of mind.

It is this realisation that has, since the acceptance of the theory of evolution, endowed some artists with the understanding that depth of natural perception is not something you can translate into a painted picture, a carved sculpture, or into the patterns created by sound and movement through music or dance. These traditional ways of creating the ‘art’ experience destroy the reality of a raw sensation of an object or an event, and working in traditional ways with paint and canvas, or clay, stone, or whatever, suppresses rather than provokes a return of our old experience of what little remains of our animal soul. Guiding material to create an art object is an act that drives your mind away from this natural inheritance because you are responding to suppress an older way of sensing that now lies redundant in the depth of your mind.


Part One; References:


John R Searle. Seeing Things As They Are: A Theory of Perception. Oxford 2015

John McDowell. Mind and World. Harvard 1994

Hilary Putnam. How to be a sophisticated ‘naïve realist’ in philosophy in the age of science. Harvard 2012.

Galen, Strawson. On Real Direct Realism: a lecture recorded in 2014 at Marc Sanders Foundation, Vimeo 91346935

Hinton J M 1973. Experiences: An enquiry into some ambiguities. Oxford.

Brian Capleton. Beyond Naivety: Post Naïve Realism in the age of Neuro Science. Amarillo Books.







Is Art a Product of Cultural Value, or Reaction to a Natural State of Mind?



For an artist, theories of art are often seen as soul destroying. The artist senses an inner urge, which cannot be easily pictured or explained, and words seem to confound rather than clarify this experience. Of course, there are those who say no explanation is necessary; all one needs to do is to create paintings, sculpture, music, and dance, along with pottery, poems, and pop songs, for no other reason than because this is the way art has always been made. This attitude has been challenged in modern times, and the question has arisen as to whether-or-not the time honoured ways of working are capable of revealing the true nature of art.

A modern suspicion has arisen that considers aesthetic explanations to be an intellectual pursuit that cannot model the base sensation of mind that genuine artists come to know. Indeed, pioneers of modern art came to the conclusion that painting pictures, carving sculpture, composing music, choreographing dance, or any activity of this type, does not create the art experience. They began to see that both aesthetics, and the methodology artists have adopted to give art form, are products of a level of thinking that generates an artificial sense of awareness. There began a shift in art to discover a natural experience of mind that is generated by an older ‘animal’ way of sensing, but it was soon realised the intellect and all it’s workings arose to suppress this inheritance.

A natural way of sensing, that is now buried beneath our ‘higher’ thought processes, would imply the foundation of the art experience is biological rather than aesthetic, and artists would be individuals who are particularly attuned to encountering the remains of this ‘animal’ sensation in their view of the world. This idea has shifted the concept of art away from an ethereal assertion to a physiological enquiry, and this raises a question as to whether-or-not artists create art objects to reveal a natural way of sensing, or do they unconsciously respond to make objects that suppresses the recall of a disturbance within our conscious awareness of the world? No one in the past understood the biological concept of the development of the human mind from animal beginnings, and so no one considered that the ‘high’ ideals of art could have developed to block-out an older ‘lower’ way of experiencing objects and events. It was assumed art was revealed thought the intellect, and that it had been given to us through divine intervention, but this belief has become suspect. Some modern artists now think art is a sensation of the remains of old way of formulating perception that is overpowered by the intellect, and this drove early artists to create art objects to transform their old inherent way of visualising the world into one imagined through mythical, religious, or decorative ideas. These creations encouraged an elation for artistic values that some modern artists have realised removes an encounter with a raw way of knowing the world, and any enquiry into art has to now reflect this biological insight. This requires we look to a base ‘animal’ foundation of mind as an unconscious influence behind our need to create art.

Biology would suggest that artists are individuals who genetically inherit a greater influence from what little remains of a way we once sensed the world through what I call instinctive visualisation: which would be an animal way of comprehending objects and events void of intellectual thought. I presume that not all of us will generate recall of this sensation to the same degree as the artist, because we are not as sensitive to these impulses inherent from our origins, and so we are not compelled to take paint, clay, sound, or movement and mould these materials into the ‘higher’ order of a work of art. We don't 'feel' an overwhelming need to placate a disturbance in our ordered visual or tactile day-to-day encounters with the way our conscious mind pictures the world. We do not, therefore, feel the urge to want to modify sight, shape, sound or movement as artists do. We are just attracted to the result, but biology tells us artists create these works because they have to remove a suspicion of an underlying sensation of perception hidden behind their conscious view of the world.

Today, it has now become possible to consider that the ‘high’ order created by the traditional ways of making art arose to suppress this underlying sensation, and that disorder therefore holds the power to provoke a return of the old sensation of mind inherent from our past. We have, until modern times, been led by aesthetic considerations to believe that artists somehow reflect a value judgement of grandeur, that is miraculously embedded in pictures, sculpture, music, and dance, but this is unfounded. The aesthetic metaphysical approach to understanding art has now been challenged by our knowledge of biology, and the art experience, just like consciousness, has to be derived from the laws of physics; which rules out concepts such as spirits or a soul at work in the depth of our minds. Biology requires a purely physiological model of mind to be understood as the seat of all perceptual phenomena.

Creating objects to glorify our idea of beauty - through the making of images of landscapes, people, gods, fairies, kings, queens, or whatever - is no way to go about understanding how our minds sense the reality of the objects and events that surround us. Art objects, it seems, are a product of human imagination that craves for fantasy rather than reality, and thus art reveals we are creatures who’s minds have mutated to perform the task of creating symbols and images that remove a direct confrontation with the ‘animal’ nature from which we have emerged. Artists, like all the rest of us, have evolved a behavioural response that works to suppress these old ‘animal’ impulses, and so any recall of this experience will disturb us. It will have become a sensation we don’t know how to visualise through conscious awareness, but will still be at work in our unconscious. Biologically speaking, evolution adapts existing traits to new challenges in the environment, and modern humans did not grow new minds to replace the old ones that our ancestors had struggled to survive with, but emerged from the mutating of these old minds, and, as a result, we now unconsciously seek to find ways to suppress any return of the original impulses. A genuine artist would be an individual who is sensitive to recall of the faint echoes of these impulses, which allowed us to comprehend the world through instinctive visualisation, but, until the modern age, artists worked to suppress rather than reveal this influence. The requirement for the aesthetic of art has always led the artist to create attractive objects structured through the intellect, or, in other words, artists display a behavioural response that looks to remove an old inherent way of sensing from our view of the world.

With this understanding we can see that artists have, until modern times, always created art objects to destroy an experience of mind that generates a sense of uncertainty and chaos, and they have done this by taking material - paint, clay, etc. - and modelling an intellectual product of mythical, religious, or decorative value. They have, as Morse Peckham pointed out, created an ordered meaningful object to offset man’s rage for chaos, (Peckham, 1965) and this desire for order in art, as in life, attracts us. We look for things that comfort us rather than disturb us, and we group these things into categorisations of objects that are classed into certain types by their similarity of appearance. (Lakoff, 1987) In the arts, this need for categorisation has always been upheld as a value judgement of aesthetic qualities that it was assumed defined the subject of art as a philosophy of beauty taken from the sum total of all objects made by human hand. (Gombrich, 1950)

Without knowledge of our ‘animal’ past neither artist or aesthetician questioned this belief, and beauty in nature, it was thought, must be the outcome of the hand of God at work behind all things. Artists, like priests, believed Nature displayed evidence of design through purposeful creation, but, today, this belief has been superseded by the concept of evolution. This concept now sees purposeful design in nature as an illusion, with thinking on the subject now directed to the complexities of living organisms as having arisen as a consequence of a continuous struggle between the need to uphold a level of energy – found in the form of food and sunlight – and to avoid being found as food. This creates a continuous pressure upon living things that spurs the evolution of more and more complex forms. In aesthetics the post-modern view of art sees our bias to discern beauty needs to be replaced with a theory that reflects the evolutionary model of nature; which requires understanding that nature, in all her guises, displays no value judgements. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, because nature is not concerned with appearance, but only functionality that can gain an advantage in the struggle for survival through a complex interaction of biological structures. Our attraction to what we call ‘beautiful things’ should not be thought of as an aesthetic consideration, but more like a biological response that drives us to seek perfection of form to remove the uncertainty of a return to the less successful sense of ‘animal’ instinct. We seek out patterns of integrity, stability, and beauty in our lives because they are advantageous, and not, as the ancients thought, because these qualities had been placed in nature through divine guidance for our pleasure. Today, Nature is considered to be an event without value judgement, where complexity emerges from mutation (Nei, 2013) and life is upheld as a balance of energy that works to maintain quantum (Al-Khalili/McFadden, 2015) in a universe that wants to return to dead cold stillness ( Krause, 2012). In this scenario life is forever trying to gain more energy that, in turn, propels growth that tries to consume more of the environment in the form of heat and work, and, here on Earth, where energy from the Sun is trapped by the planets and the atmosphere, this struggle results in a balanced tempo of life (Colinvaux, 1978) where metabolic rate gives creatures an almost linear relationship between body mass and energy use. (Whitfield, 2006)

All this excludes aesthetic consideration, which is purely an intellectual illusion, and from the biological point of view, art is not a statement about purposeful design, but a trait that seeks to find assurance in order. In nature we are surrounded by uncertainty, (Parsons 2008) and the fact that we create art is because we crave for an artificial sensation of mind that removes uncertainty from our lives. We mow our grass, and cultivate our gardens to stop the entangled struggle for existence that would, if left untended, return to disrupt our illusion of order, and we seek to generate energy like no other living things, that, through our machines, allows us to move effortlessly across the planet in a way that removes the reality of our true place in nature from our thoughts. We have evolved into unnatural creatures who seek to find and consume the animals and materials that have accumulated upon this world, and we do so at an ever increasing rate because the advantage in life is to find and consume more and more energy (Mason, 2004). Life wants to consume the environment because the ‘will’ of the universe is to return to dead cold stillness, but nature finds a balanced equilibrium in this scenario. Nature, like the Sun that supplies energy in the form of light and heat, generates a reaction within a closed ecosystems between the material that is available to be consumed and the rate of consumption, (Wills, 2013) but we have yet to learn this lesson. All life arises from this balanced system to consume it, but is checked by other living things that evolve at the same rate, but we have mutated into consumers and so we pursue an underlying ‘will’ of the universe to return to dark cold stillness. Our ability to create art and design is a sign of this imbalance of mind that drives us to impose order over the natural course of events, and art has to understood as not so much a miraculous gift, but more like the result of a behavioural response. Art seems to imply we emerged from prehistory with this distinct mutation of mind beyond natural limits, and we have risen to dominate life on Earth with an unnatural trait that has given us the ability to see far beyond the ‘animal’ way of sensing the world (Wills, 1994).

To formulate a biological model of art requires this understanding of what drives us to suppress the disorder of nature, and replace it with an unnatural desire for an artificial arrangement of order. This is reflected through the artist's need to create an imagined arrangement of paint, clay, stone, sound, and movement in the form of pictures, sculpture, music, and dance. This is a very unnatural thing to do, and we need to realise that our minds are attracted to things we learn how to recognise at a conscious level of ordered thought, but repelled by any unconscious impulses – which would return our powers of perception to a natural way of sensing. This is reflected by the artists desire to transform the unrecognisable disorder of materials into recognisable ordered images, shapes, or patterns (Jung, 1968), and, biologically, this reflects the way our minds work all the time to find order in chaos to increase our control over nature. Outlining the shape of an animal on a cave wall with coloured earth, or moulding it’s form in clay, teaches you to replace your natural unconscious impulses of mind, that generate your powers of perception through instinct, with a conscious response that removes the uncertainty of having to go out into the real world and rely upon intuition to survive.

Children, when they learn to draw and paint, develop a way of thinking that gives them more control over how they conceive the real objects and events that surround them, and just as our distant ancestors did, they suppress the remains of our unconscious ‘animal’ way of sensing the world by replacing this experience with a new advantageous power of image recognition. As we mature from child to adult we begin to think of the world as less of a place we react within through blind response, and more of a place we can consciously modify. Biologically, the desire to take raw material and paint images, carve sculpture, compose music, choreograph dance, or any other number of creative activities, is the outward manifestation of this biological trait that gives us a greater sense of control over how we comprehend the world. What we learn to picture in our imagination are designed patterns that resemble outside objects and events, and this becomes the basis of a controlled way of looking. We begin to become attracted to the illusion of design, and anything that does not display this trait is rejected. In art you therefore find unrecognisable images - runs and dribbles of paint, or jumbled sounds and movements, etc. – are less popular with the general public because they provoke an unconscious return of the remains of our ‘animal’ way of sensing. Most people are unaware they possess this old way of sensing and so they are attracted to art that keeps this sensation buried behind their love of pretty pictures, nice music, attractive dance, etc.

It is my belief that artists, before they begin a work, sense a greater degree of disorder in paint, clay, sound, or movement, and they respond to this provocative sensation by creating a greater degree of order by rearranging these materials into recognisable pictures, sculpture, music, or dance. This has always formed the basis of the aesthetic of art, but we have to realise the artist has always done this to unknowingly remove an old inherent experience of mind. The raw paint, or clay, etc. exposed the sensitive mind of the artist to a glimpse of the remains of the ‘animal’ way of sensing our ancestors lived with, but, like all of us, the artist responds to suppress this disturbance. Up until modern times no artist looked to create a greater sense of disorder in art so that their work could be used to provoke a return of this ‘animal’ insight. This was because of two things; (1) no one had any idea we inherit an older way of sensing objects and events from our ‘animal’ origins, and; (2) skill at producing controlled output suppresses this insight and becomes more desirable than unskilled results. This behaviour has created a world full of objects classed as art by their ability to display a greater sensation of controlled ordered imagery that works to remove the remains of an older way of sensing, and, biologically, this has not occurred because artists seek to reveal an aesthetic of beauty in the world, but because they work to remove the disruption of the opposite effect. This idea bases its premise on the concept of evolution; which implies we possess a foundation of mind that has mutated into higher order consciousness to subdue the remains of an old instinctive power of perception. We are creatures that act to impose our intelligent command of thought over what was once a direct experience of the world, and art is one of many ways in which this response was, until our age, upheld.

Art, in the traditional sense of the word, creates an ordered experience of an object that aesthetics identifies through certain intellectual refinements of technique, but this way of thinking has always excluded a disordered sensation being presented through raw vision. The aesthetician sees art as a value judgement, but modern art challenges this assumption by looking to the ‘crude’ object to bring recall of the remains of a ‘lower’ animal experience of mind. Remember, our survival trait is to be attracted to things we recognise – which in art manifests into a search for beautiful things – and to be repelled by things we fail to recognise – which in art would be a crude ugly result. By allowing disorder into the creation of an art object some modern artists contaminate the traditional concept of the aesthetic of beauty with ‘crude’ things, which provokes a return to mind of the older inherent way of sensing. This requires we look at an object or event without the imposition of intellectual ordered thinking, and the artist has to work to create, or find, objects that remove the values that we expect to identify as ‘art’ through our higher order consciousness.

The traditional concept of art – by which I mean the classification of cultural products that arose from the Shang, Minoan, Egyptian, Indian and Sumerian civilisations, and is upheld today through the traditional techniques of canvas painting, ornamental and formal sculpture, music and opera, film, play acting, etc. – has never allowed disorder to be considered an essential component of the art experience. An inartistic object has always been excluded from the classification of type, and, therefore, ‘art’ has been defined by objects created to enforce intellectual ordered thinking rather than as an insight into the remains of our ‘unlearned’ natural powers of observation. The artist has always adhered to an aesthetic created through a controlled interaction with materials - paint, clay, sound, or movement, etc. - using higher order consciousness, however, if art is theorised as a biological behavioural response then the aesthetic has arisen to suppress an older state of mind. This ‘inner’ experience has now become an unconscious sensation behind our day-to-day encounters with objects and events, and when we fail to recognise something this unconscious sensation begins to return and disturbs our conscious levels of awareness.

Anti-Art becomes one way to remove the entrenched command for order in art, and we begin to ‘feel’ the return of our old ‘animal’ power of instinctive awareness when these disruptive objects are placed into the categorisation of art. We reject the in-artistic result without realising this is a behavioural response of the intellect that seeks to remove recall of our old ‘animal’ way of sensing that the anti-art object creates. This would imply traditional methods of workmanship block an experience that can only be touched upon when the aesthetic is missing from what we see; i.e. when the ‘art’ object no longer upholds the classification of type. Confronted by an object that is difficult to recognise as ‘art’ forces our mind to revert to an older inherent way of sensing through instinct, but the controlled way of creating art – making recognisable images, shapes, etc. – has always removed this experience. Filling art full of ideals of skilled creative workmanship and meaningful intellectual content stops the instinctive view emerging, and the expectation of what art should look like has always overpowered an underlying view. Today, some modern artists now look to reveal this underlying view, and, to do this, these artists have to present found or natural objects as art: i.e. objects that exclude high order conscious interaction with material and do not fit into the traditional idea of art. This type of art, by defying categorisation, has to be understood as an attempt to make works that provoke recall of an underlying sensation of mind.

The modern concept of art states that the cultural meaning looked for in the value judgements of aesthetics upholds skill and learning rather than an exploration of inner sensation, and the requirement in art has, until now, always been for an artist to create an object that adheres to tradition to suppresses an older arena of the mind. By removing the criteria of judgement of what is, or is not art, the artist opens up the concept to the wider implications of a need to understand the subject as a biological response. A reaction to an ‘animal’ way of sensing that has now become an unconscious influence behind our powers of observation, and what artists in the past never realised, and what many artists today still fail to grasp, is that art arose to remove any recall of this experience. Artists have, until modern times, acted to banish Instinctive Visualisation from their work by their command of technique, and, therefore, artists have created objects that generate an artificial product that reflects high order thinking to stop recall of a natural biological encounter with sight, shape, sound, or movement.

Today, artists can be divided into two types: we find artists who adhere to a socio/economic high order conscious model of art: these artists work to create a controlled skilled product that is easy to recognise and categorise. The second type of artist looks away from this need for control and skill because they realise these techniques developed to stop any influence from what remains of our old arena of ‘animal’ mind being explored. Today, we therefore find artists who uphold the socio/economic model of art, and artists who seek to disrupt it. The disruptive artist acts by instinct rather than manufacture a cultivated object of intellectual learning, but even in this day and age, with our understanding of evolution and the inheritance of an ‘animal’ foundation of mind, any artist working to provoke Instinctive Visualisation is not seen to be promoting a popular interpretation of what an artist should be doing. Most prefer to define their understanding of art based upon objects that uphold and display educated learned techniques rather than intuitive actions, however, believing learned techniques create art is an a prior assumption. It takes for granted that art is a cultural product attained through making paintings, sculpture, music, dance, films, etc. rather than a natural experience of mind. The cultural concept of art predisposes what art is about, and their is no foundation for asserting that art has anything to do with culture. The alternate biological argument would imply that creating art objects arose in prehistory to help us overpower an old inherent way of perception, and this implies that the cause of art has now become an unconscious experience behind conscious awareness. This makes art an unidentified ‘feeling’ that our ordered view of the world hides, but to look at this ‘feeling’ requires removing the sense of order that has always been associated to the idea of art. Artists suppress an underlying experience of mind provoked by the sensation of disorder, and they do this by taking raw material and modelling it into a controlled ordered pattern of sight, shape, sound, and movement, and this working procedure has always been thought to create art not suppress it.

The socio/economic model of art states that an artist creates the art experience by making a work of conscious intellectual worth, and this belief probably arose because people in prehistory did not know they acted to remove the remains of an older way of sensing through ‘animal’ instinct. There was no concept of evolution in prehistory, nor a psychology of perception, and what became the traditional definition of art – the refined awareness that drives an artist to arrange paint into pictures, stone into sculpture, sound into music, or movement into dance, etc. – became associated with cultural ideas rather than the suppressing of raw response. The earliest ideas in art reflecting a belief in a ‘spiritual’ vision of nature rather than a biological ‘animal’ insight, and, over time, this developed into a requirement for images in temples, churches, mosques, palaces, museums, or homes. The biological ‘animal’ insight of the artist was overshadowed by these socio/economic demands, and art became a product used by the tribe, the church, and the state.

Artists who understand art as a suppressive act of a natural biological urge will work to avoid the socio/economic model, and, in place of this distraction, they will look to provoke a return of raw experience through Instinctive Visualisation. This is a modern point of view, and requires art abandons traditional working method, but even now the prevailing belief is that art is about attaining ‘high’ values, not removing them. Art has always been a tool that encourages us to look away from raw experience; with the art object being used to transport peoples thoughts beyond raw ‘animal’ experience, and today we find television and cinema have now become the preferred socio/economic retreat.

Until our age art theory has never looked to a biological causation behind our need for art. It was never imagined that our minds are built out of raw ‘animal’ impulses, nor was it understood that we all, artist or not, still generate these impulses that our distant ancestors have passed down to us in the deepest oldest arena of our minds. Most of us never ‘feel’ the call of these long lost impulses because we bury them beneath our learned intelligent powers of observation, and artists in the past created objects that helped us do this; they worked to portray a controlled vision of the world rather than raw response. Today, some artists are beginning to realise the art experience could be faint recall of an ancient insight into the remains of how our minds once sensed the world in a direct intuitive way, and the challenge, for these individuals, becomes one of creating art that provokes, rather than subdues, this old inherent way of experiencing objects and events.

Art as a behavioural response to recall of Instinctive Visualisation requires thinking beyond the philosophical model that dictates art is intrinsically bound to aesthetics. Monroe Beardsley (1958) moved aesthetics from its object orientated roots to being considered a quality of the viewers mind, which made a start, but to say the sensation artist's experience is the remains of a way of looking that has now become an unconscious inheritance of ‘animal’ impulse requires more commitment. Beardsley advanced upon Emanuel Kant (1790) who considered the key features of a aesthetic object to be the result of ‘judgement of taste’ with the idea of beauty being a conceptual event rather than a ‘quality’ to be found in the outside world. However, I doubt Kant would have imagined this conceptual event was a survival trait generated by the mind to STOP recall of an old way of sensing inherent from our ‘animal’ origins. Philosophy had to wait for Charles Darwin (1859) before theories began to be advanced that considered the nature of raw response to be a biological influence at work behind our aesthetic sensibilities (Peckham. 1965).

Originally, the aesthetic was thought to be an integral part of material things that had somehow been miraculously designed into the universe, however, this creates problems as it requires acceptance of a godhead; which demands a vision of the universe to be built on faith rather than empirical proof of concept. Beardsley offered a nice solution to this paradox by removing the value judgement of the aesthetic from the outside world and placing inside our minds. Art becomes a biological survival trait that arose from a mutation of mind that found it was advantageous to be able to distinguish ordered patterns in the environment rather than to react through blind response, and this creates an illusion of the quality of certain types of object that we are attracted to. We have evolved minds that look for ordered patterns that generates the illusion that there are beautiful things in the universe because they attract us more than disordered things. To counter this bias towards beauty in art modern artists turned to anti-art as a way to provoke a return of a level of mind we once lived with before this desire for pattern recognition emerged to dominate of powers of perception. From the modern point of view art becomes less a matter of how skilful or cleaver you are at creating quality images or composing sounds, and more like how perceptive you are to recall of Instinctive Visualisation. From this point of view there simply is no difference between the Michaelangelo masterpieces in the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican in Rome, or Duchamp’s Fountain. The criticism of artistic merit – the judgement of taste - becomes a behavioural response that sees that Michelangelo was working harder than Duchamp to remove a return of ‘animal’ impulses from his mind. Educated thinking, like learned technique and religious belief, fill the mind full of assurances that dictate what pleases us by directing our thoughts towards a refined artificial sense of order in the world. The biological view is that Instinctive Visualisation rather than Learned Knowledge is the key to a true art experience, but we suppress the former sensation and promote the later, or, in other words, we are attracted to order over chaos because it gives us an advantage in the struggle for survival. Biology now tells us art must be a sensation generated at a natural level of mind – which holds no value judgement - that our educated way of thinking works to remove from our day-to-day powers of perception.

The idea of art as suppression of instinctive visualisation is a major problem for aesthetics because it requires ANY object to be called art. The criteria shifts from an intellectual quality of design, to a search for a way to recover sensations that our intellect works to remove from our encounters with objects and events. Aesthetics is concerned with judgement of taste, but art as recall of instinctive visualisation has to avoid these considerations; it has to look to an individuals sensitivity to an inner arena of mind inherent from their distant ‘animal’ origins. As such, the working method would have to be void of aesthetic or intellectual thinking, and this is why many modern artists throw paint rather than guide it. They work outside traditional technique to push your established learned values to one side – your aesthetic – in order to open your mind to an ‘inner’ experience of recall of what little remains of your natural response. Perhaps learned thinking will always destroy the art experience rather than reveal it, and only the artist knows the inherent sensation of mind that is true to nature in her, or his, genes. As the Jazz musician Louie Armstrong (1901-1971) once remarked when asked what he thought jazz was about, ‘man, if you have to ask what it is you’ll never know’. Try to understand art as recall of an old inherent natural experience of ANY object or event, rather than art as an intellectual achievement reflected through a specific type of object built from higher order thinking.


Part Two; References:


Al-Khalili/McFadden, 2015. Jim Al-Khalili & Johnjoe McFadden. Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology. Black Swan.

Armstrong, 1901-1971. Louie Armstrong quote from

Beardsley, 1958. Monroe Beardsley. Aesthetics: Problems in the Philosophy of Aesthetics.Hackett Publishing.

Colinvaux, 1978. Paul Colinvaux. Why Big Fierce Animals Are Rare. Princeton University Press. 1979.

Darwin, 1859. Charles Darwin. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. John Murray.

Edelman, 2004. Gerald M Edelman. Wider than the Sky: The Phenomenal Gift of Consciousness. Yale University Press.

Gombrich, 1959. E. H. Gombrich. The Story of Art. ( introduction to the traditional concept of art that still teaches students to believe in an intellectual quality of value judgement. Gombrich fails to embrace the purpose of modern art as a search for instinctive visualisation, and his idea of a ‘good’ modern artist is limited to the ‘fake’ modernism presented by artists like Lucian Freud and David Hockney. First published in 1950, this book had reached it’s 16th. Edition by 2007). Phaidon

Jung, 1968. Carl Jung. The Archetypes and the Collective Unconsciousness. Routledge 1991

Kant, 1790. Emmanuel Kant. Critique of Judgement. Hackett Publishing, UK edition 1987.

Krause, 2012. Laurence M Krause. A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing. Simon & Schuster 2013

Lakoff, 1987. George Lakoff. Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Human Mind. University of Chicago Press.

Mason, 2004. Jim Mason. An Unnatural Order: Our Destruction of Nature. Lantern Books.

Nei, 2013. Masatoshi Nei. Mutation-Driven Evolution. Oxford.

Pearson, 2008. Glenn Pearson. Aesthetics and Nature. Continuum International Publishing.

Peckham, 1965. Morse Peckham. Man’s Rage for Chaos: Biology, Behaviour, and the Arts. Schocken, 1967.

Whitfield, 2006. John Whitfield. In a Heart Beat: Life, Energy, and the Unity of Nature. National Academic Press.

Wills, 1994. Christopher Wills. The Runaway Brain: The Origins of Human Uniqueness. Harper Collins.

Wills, 2013. Christopher Wills. Green Equilibrium: The Vital Equilibrium of Humans and Nature. Oxford.


© C J Hollins 2017.

A painting made to avoid all the established ideas people expect a painting to display. No stretched canvas, no recognisable image, no frame, no skilled technique, no meaningful content, no value. The purpose of this type of work is to place before the viewer an object that fails to uphold all the learned ideas they believe so that they begin to experience recall of an older redundent way of sensing through what little remains of their 'animal' instincts.