The strange attraction of beauty
Australian artist Ros Paton has been exploring themes of impermanence in the urban environment for twenty-five years. Her paintings and collages leap from these pages, and her article leads us through a personal history of the cities and buildings that provided her with the raw material for her portrayal of the circumventing of the decay process in the modern city.
Years ago I went to a psychic with a friend as a bit of a joke. The psychic told me three things that had a profound impact on me, and to this day I see his words before my eyes and remember that sinking feeling associated with his revelation:
1. I will struggle all my life against being seen as glib rather than profound;
2. I am strangely attracted to and affected by beauty in all forms;
3. I may only have a short life that ends in middle age.
To varying degrees these statements have underpinned my philosophy of living and the path of my art practice:
when combined, they serve as a rationale for my efforts to imbue my artwork with something deeper than a depiction of image, my search for beauty in all that I see, and my wish to portray the poignancy and fragility of beauty and of life itself.
Beauty and philosophy
Although “beauty” as a quality of art is perhaps seen as out of date in some circles, I believe beauty still has the ability to capture us and make us think more deeply, connecting us to an event in a way not possible by mere documentation. Perhaps as a result of the superficial nature of the popular cultural obsession with beauty in the media, and our deepening understanding of eastern philosophies, we are actually developing a deeper understanding of beauty that is more than what has become the traditional western ideal of perfection and symmetry.
I am not alone in describing beauty as the “imperfect, impermanent and incomplete”, and in being less concerned with representing what the eye can see and more interested in