Posted by: Bruce Proctor | December 4, 2015

“Aesthetic arrest” by any other name

Thank you, David. You make it fun!

When Dylan says “to stop time,” you must see it from his point of view as an artist, not as theory or linguistics or science. “Aesthetic arrest” is the same thing. “Beauty” is just another way of saying the same thing. Some of my work is extremely ugly, but I know it’s beautiful because I can see the beauty in it. And if I see that someone “gets it,” that moment, it transforms them, I can see it, it’s undeniable. They in fact get it, like the punch line to a joke. That moment of recognition.

I sent a photo matted and framed to a dear friend in Ashville, unannounced. I didn’t hear from him for months. Finally a letter arrived from him. “I hated it! Absolutely hated it. But I put in on the wall of my study where I could see it every day. One day I came around the corner, saw it, and my jaw just dropped. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! I’ve just been watching it and watching it for days. How the hell do you do that?!”

That’s what I meant by stopping time. You lose yourself in it. The words are just a way to point to what’s indescribable. To the entry point.

Have you read Laurens van der Post?


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