Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Some Ramblings on the Sublime

My art criticism professor shared this and I had to pass it along. If you can ignore the frequent close-ups of the judges, the performance is impressive. I love the integration of visual and performance art, and I know that it must have taken a lot of rehearsing. 

 A few weeks ago I took the ferry across the river and spent some time gazing back at Savannah as the sun was setting. Since I was alone, I decided to sing one of my favorite hymns:

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars; I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

 A few days ago I was watching some distant summer lightning from a Savannah park bench, and again this passage from How Great Thou Art struck me.

The concept of the sublime is one that has fascinated me for a while, and my interest was recently rekindled reading a tiny bit about Lyotard's theories. The term refers to depicting overwhelming tragedy in a beautiful way. There is a conflict of interest as the viewer grapples with sadness, grief, and the elevation that comes from viewing something grand.
Turner's Snowstorm before the Port Entrance (translated)

I know I am guilty of diminishing the words 'awful' and 'awesome' (think Little Women), which should be reserved for the terrible, wonderful, and divine. If you catch me at it, just wink and say 'sublime.'

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