The Zen of functional and non-functional things

The Zen of functional and non-functional things

The bowl, the shoe, the house, the tree. Nourishment planted, arranged just so to soak up the light. Fitted for us, preferably by us, to serve. This and that, to keep us dry in the rain, warm in the snow, fed when the clock sings in our bellies three times a day.

Non-contrivance can’t be taught, much less manufactured. Zenish contexts can’t be formulated, controlled, or white-papered. The functional can’t be faked. The space within the vase, the beer mug, the bucket, the cool air in the bear’s ancient cave, the negative answer to positive forms and non-forms within the canvas — all of these things must be inevitable, not artificially simulated. Our fields bring us life. We exchange only what’s useful about them for what is also useful in another context, if we want to make ten.

But things where no purpose exists without clever ads . . . break ten. Not in half. Not into useful parts. Just dust. We shouldn’t produce them. We should choose, together, not to. As one people, decide to make ten instead.

There is no Zen in a market society. Just impersonal, artificial confabs without the communion of Negative and Positive.

. . . Bring it back, bring it back, by way of down-shifting, sphere-shifting, decentralized, localized, communal peace-offerings. A useful thing for a useful thing shatters the regime of the non-functional, the superfluous.


Some more recent paintings, somehow, someway, with the above in mind:

 

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