no such thing as art exists

For the artist, I think, as for the public, no such thing as art exists; it only exists for the critics and those who live in the forebrain. Artist and public simply register, like a seismograph, an electromagnetic charge which can't be rationalized. One only knows that a transmission of sorts goes on, true or false, successful or unsuccessful, according to chance. But to try to break down the elements and nose them over — one gets nowhere. (I suspect this approach to art is common to all those who cannot surrender themselves to it!) Paradox. Anyway …

— from Mountolive by Lawrence Durrell

That quotation is hanging on the wall of my studio to remind me, the artist, that I will never speak through my work to everyone. It is enough to seek transcendence by surrendering completely to the intuitive ideas and emotions that I express in my sculpture.My technical skills have been honed through years of study. I do not want the lack of skills to interfere with the expression of any spontaneous or unconscious thought.

TJ Mabrey      Slash      cut and folded manila paper      6 inch diameter x 4 ft
TJ Mabrey      On the Square      Embossed cut and folded paper      Harwood Museum Exhibit

I have informed myself about what other artists are doing and saying by going directly to the artists — either speaking with them in person or looking at their work in the studio or on exhibition. Reading about art in fashionable magazines is a form of entertainment. I do not equate what I read about art with the art.

Artists should not live in the forebrain, but they nevertheless should be stimulated intellectually. I keep an open mind and eye to the visual art produced today, yesterday and in ancient times. All of it is our cultural history and, with our contribution, will be part of the cultural future.

I am most happy when exploring those things new to me. The mysteries of Nature and the equally mysterious nature of man are topics of unlimited scope. Also, trying to see the world through the eye of a scientist for a change can be an extraordinary experience.

I see all things through the bias of my personal perspective. But it is with unlimited and open curiosity that I seek to share the mental and spiritual adventures of all human beings as expressed in their art.

—TJ Mabrey

TJ Mabrey      TREE WINDOW      Iron      Approx 5 x 5 ft x 1 inch