Thinking and feeling. Some cultures prioritize those two concepts in that order. Others reverse it. And of course it is never a case of this or that, black or white. Every tradition has its own blending of head and heart, the external and the internal, the rational and the beyond rational. But there are detectable differences that fluctuate around those two poles. It is probably best represented as a continuum.
That dichotomy is also elemental to a lot of the disagreements, controversies and distinctions that are constantly at play in the visual art field, in criticism as well as art making. I’ve written several times on this blog about issues that are, at their essence, also about this thinking vs feeling dialectic (such as a post about the concept of epic vs lyrical in the visual arts, and how modern vs pomo sensibilities compare.) One of life’s unsolved issues, this force field just keeps showing up in a number of different guises.
I think I know where I sit on that spectrum. And this simple advice from Dave Hickey is a good mantra for a morning in the studio:
My advice is always to make a lot of art; to make a lot of art, then look at what you have made and then think about what you have done. If you think first, you will never do anything or you will do something boring. Art doesn’t exist until the artist has finished making it.
Chop wood, carry water. Today. Tomorrow.