Edmund Abbey

Obscure, pompous, pretentious words. I’m not sure what they mean. One would prefer to be precise and clear. But there is something in the art of John De Puy, as there is in a mountain or butte or canyon itself, that defies the precision and clarity of simple descriptive language. Whattever we can find to say about a desert mountain or a De Puy painting, there is always something more, dim but ominously present, which cannot be said.

It will not suffice to dismiss this essential mystery as mere romanticism. The Romantics, after all, in art, music, poetry, philosophy, in action and in life, were onto something. Something real. Something as real as rock and sun and the human mind. Thus they were and they remain – necesssary. There is no “mere” about it.

Bloated rhetoric, I agree. A breezy effort at explanation. “Let Being Be,” said Martin Heidegger, das Denker Kraut, in a mere seventeen volumes. Exactly. “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent,” said Ludwig Wittgenstein in one sentence. Precisely. When Beethoven was asked to explain the meaning of one of his sonatas, he simply sat down at the piano and played it through again.

Down the River