YATES : PAINTINGS
A good working knowledge of English or the company of a competent translator seems more and more necessary to enjoy gallery-going these days. Probably less time is spent looking at art than reading about it (-- labels, instructions, catalogue notes, or the work itself). Certainly this is true when an exhibition is reviewed in a newspaper, since more people read the review than see the show.
Our desire for explanations in words is indicative of a general leaning to conception rather than perception.
There is always difficulty with statements about art, especially artists’ statements about their own work. The words describing or explaining an object are liable to be confused with or mistaken for the object itself. The explanation of a work of art is nearly always the hammering out of an ideology or the further development of mere opinion. (There is no need to refer specifically to my work to make such offerings. We do need a revolution. Each one of us. And it must be in our perception of the world.) Direct perception precludes the confusion of words with the thing itself.
Our common wisdom’s advice to confused souls is: "Come to your senses." This is advocacy for perception. It does not mean to think, to remember, to compare, analyse or conceptualise. It means to see. Here and Now.
The making of art is an ancient ceremony with no rules. It is a mating dance to allure mankind to love and couple with the mystery of being here. The mystery of life doesn’t need to be explained. It needs to be seen for what it is -- a mystery.
Robert Clark Yates
at the BURLINGTON ART CENTRE