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Odilon Redon

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I have often, as an exercise and as a sustenance, painted before an object down to the smallest accidents of its visual appearance; but the day left me sad and with an unsatiated thirst. The next day I let the other source run, that of imagination, through the recollection of the forms and I was then reassured and appeased.

 
Odilon Redon

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My primary concern is visual form. The visual meaning may be discovered afterwards Ė by those who look for it. Two meanings have been ascribed to these American Flag paintings of mine. One position is: 'He's painted a flag so you donít have to think of it as a flag but only as a painting'. The other is: 'You are enabled by the way he has painted it to see it as a flag and not as a painting.' Actually both positions are implicit in the paintings, so you don't have to choose.

 
Jasper Johns
 

It is impossible that the eye should project from itself, by visual rays, the visual virtue, since, as soon as it opens, that front portion [of the eye] which would give rise to this emanation would have to go forth to the object and this it could not do without time. And this being so, it could not travel so high as the sun in a month's time when the eye wanted to see it.

 
Leonardo da Vinci
 

Neither is there figurative and non-figurative art. All things appear to us in the shape of forms. Even in metaphysics ideas are expressed by forms, well them think how absurd it would be to think of painting without the imagery of forms. A figure, an object, a circle, are forms; they affect us more or less intensely.

 
Pablo Picasso
 

It is human nature to want to exchange ideas, and I believe that, at bottom, every artist wants no more than to tell the world what he has to say. I have sometimes heard painters say that they paint "for themselves": but I think they would soon have painted their fill if they lived on a desert island. The primary purpose of all art forms, whether itís music, literature, or the visual arts, is to say something to the outside world; in other words, to make a personal thought, a striking idea, an inner emotion perceptible to other peopleís senses in such a way that there is no uncertainty about the maker's intentions.

 
M. C. Escher
 

The function [of objective thinking] is to reduce all phenomena which bear witness to the union of subject and world, putting in their place the clear idea of the object as in itself and of the subject as pure consciousness. It therefore severs the links which unite the thing and the embodied subject, leaving only sensible qualities to make up our world (to the exlusion of the modes of appearance which we have described), and preferably visual qualities, because these give the impression of being autonomous, and because they are less directly linked to our body and present us with an object rather than introducing us into an atmosphere. But in reality all things are concretions of a setting, and any explicit perception of a thing survives in virtue of a previous communication with a certain atmosphere. p. 374

 
Maurice Merleau-Ponty
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