from John Wood’s introduction in “The New City” with poems by Maclean Gander
November 14, 2012 § Leave a comment
It is a cliché to think that the only way an artist can be original is by repudiating and turning his back upon the past. The past is often less of a burden than the present. Quite often the present carries far more fearsome baggage with it than any past, for if an artist does not accept the received conventions and strictures of his own time, he may well be completely ignored. It is a brave artist who chooses not to paint, photograph, or write like his contemporaries. Every period has its received aesthetic. What chance for recognition would a hyper-realist, for example, have had in New York in the 1950’s during the heyday of Abstract Expressionism? And how easy is it today for an artist to get attention if the work is not in some way “edgy,” a word used to suggest that some unpleasant feature of it is a commendable act of artistic bravery?
In The Culture of Hope philosopher and art critic Frederick Turner wrote, “Sometimes the present creates the future by breaking the shackles of the past; but sometimes the past creates the future by breaking the shackles of the present.” That is exactly what Jefferson Hayman does in his art—he allows the past to break through the rules and restrictions of the present….