Smith Paragraph- Annelysse Eggold

The essence of Terry Smith’s elucidation of the evolving forms of art today is contemporaneity: the historical presence in visual culture which attempts to explain how the complexities of being in time finds and expresses itself through visual form.

This contemporaneity appears to map the diverse ways in which world cultures use visual means to record, define and interrogate their historical context and presence in time. Setting aside those whom Smith labels “tricksters,” including artists, curators, critics, dealers, patrons and the public who would use the plethora of this ever evolving art in the service of their ego, the true artists and forms of contemporary art become a manifestation in time and in form of the ineffable formless and timeless, not to be defined by the discursive mind but to be lived and self-defined in the present moment.  Smith understands that what we attempt to enclose with a name, contemporary art, is the ontology of the present…it is a beingness that draws upon this moment, with all of its diversity and complexity.  It is a mirror of the exponential change in our world and it cannot be constrained by positing it as a phase or period.  It draws upon history but in a way that echoes the sentiments, physics and metaphysics of Einstein: “The distinction between the past, present and future is only an illusion, albeit a stubbornly persistent one.”  Contemporaneity, explains Smith, means not “to be with time” but “to be out of time” both encloses and transcends time…therefore it both encloses and transcends static definitions of historicity in art.  The ego wants continuity, the universe wants change…Smith enjoins us to envision this ambiguity in the contemporary art of McElheny,  An End to Modernity, wherein we can see a paradoxical reflection of ourselves within the ultimately ineffable Big Bang.

Smith leads us toward a deeper understanding that art is ultimately in the service of insight.  We circumambulate that insight as we absorb the contemporaneity of its origins.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: