By Bob Booth
I believe that in all the arts, meaning that is found is not just the discovery of meaning that has been put in by the artist. Aaron Copland; composer of Appalachian Spring, was apparently often amused when members of an audience congratulated him on capturing the essence of springtime in the Appalachian Mountains. For him it was a nonsense, as the work had been given this title by someone else, after the composition was complete. However I am not entirely sympathetic to his amusement since it seems to imply that artist is the author, owner, and comprehensive authority on meaning of the work.
There is a level of symbolism that can be understood in this way, and it is clearly possible to include meaning like clues that can be deciphered. Looking at some early religious paintings it appears at times that the artists have been handed a list of symbols that should be embodied in the image.
My belief in the creative process, as ‘really creative’ offers the possibility that the heart of meaning in art cannot be consciously and deliberately included. This significance is no more at the beck-and-call of the maker than it is of the observer. These are the symbols that are expansive and wild, they may be glimpsed but not held.
In ‘The Visitation’, the lost sheep of the house of Israel and Mary as the bearer of the word, developed unbidden during the making of this painting, but I suspect that I gave them more attention than was required.
It has been the breathtaking incongruity of the incarnation that has stayed with me from this work. The Visitation.