Western art thinking has been built on the duality of Augustinian /Christian thought, structured and further compartmentalized by Thomastic logic, rationalized by the enlightenment and denied by positivists, buffeted by the social and economic values and wars of the last century. It has been made to march and evolve by the systems of Panofsky, Burckhardt and Gombrich to finally be deconstructed into prolitarian examples of mundane experience. Gone are the glories, the suffering, the pain and the common humanities into the maw of political/ psychological agnst.
African Art whose interpretations have certainly been affected by these critical and cultural fashions has maintained its structural integrity; its many-faceted unity. One cannot look at a demanding African work and stay isolated in its “cubist form” or “ethnic characteristics”. The material culture of these objects turns very quickly into a spiritual culture, a social culture and all the time ruled by an aesthetic genius.
Partially because of the nature of this art and the sources from which it has sprung, interpretation of African art depends strongly on the tribal relation and connections of the transmitter, their experience with the field, and their spiritual sympathy for the ontological commitment.
We are indeed fortunate here at Plattsburgh State Art Museum to have not only this splendid collection on loan for the exhibition but to also have the knowledge and experience of a group of collectors and dealers long associated with the field. The anotations of each piece and the cultural overview of Mr. Rossi prepare us and heighten our sensitivity to bond with this unique part of the human phenomenon on the earth.
...those of us who participate in this reality will be different people for it.Our thanks to Mr. Paul Rossi for his curatorial skills in making the information and material available for the exhibition and to Nancy and Dave DeRoche (Gallery DeRoche), Joshua Dimondstein (Dimondstein Tribal Arts), Marc Assayag (Tookalook Tribal Arts), Charlie and Blanche Derby, and our anonymous donors for their generous loan of artwork for this event at Plattsburgh. Those of us who participate in this reality will be different people for it.
-Edward Brohel, Director Plattsburgh State Art Museum
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