The paintings of Katherine McNenly have recently come to my attention. Although I won’t pretend for a moment to be an authority on the subject of art, based upon frequent visits over the past forty years to the National Gallery I instantly recognized in her work what I perceived to be the influence of the Dutch Masters. Of equal importance to me is the recognition that the universe continues to produce artists of such refined talent. There is naturally no logical reason to assume that there shouldn’t be emerging talent but it nonetheless perks me up to rediscover the platitude.
Perhaps as an accident of old age I am increasingly aware of the strength of creative forces in my life. Until lately I hadn’t the time to indulge in the pleasure of creativity. I was too busy creating. By which I mean I was too occupied managing my own business affairs (as creatively as possible in my own small way) that I hadn’t the luxury to savour the potency and robustness of the creativity which was always swirling about me. When talent is compartmentalized (such as it is of necessity in galleries) we tend to overlook the constant stream of creativity. And when one’s life is dedicated to the accomplishment of specific goals, targets and agenda, it is seemingly pointless to look at things merely for what they are rather than what they can achieve.
Within the myriad of ways in which talent manifests itself it is useful to confine one’s focus to those elements which are of especial interest. My personal interests are architecture, visual arts (paintings, sculpture and photography) and industrial design, the latter being particularly consuming as it melds with my insatiable appetite for ever-evolving technology. I have pointedly excluded from this list two other formidable art forms; namely, writing and music. This is odd for me because I would customarily observe about myself that writing and music are essential to my well-being. For example I have been writing almost daily since the age of thirteen years; and until very recently I played the piano every day since the same age. Now my preference is to read what others have written and to listen to the music which others have composed and performed. This may appear to be a small divergence from my earlier literary and musical inclinations but for me the posture is both evolutionary and revolutionary. In my mind it speaks to my maturity (perhaps in the sense of an agèd cheese) that I am now more interested in harvesting the products of civilization rather than preposterously trying to contribute to them. I no longer harbour the shame of defeat upon this issue; and in my more charitable moments I even consider that whatever I have accomplished in life to this point is worthy of some note at least in the broadest comparative terms.
It is common knowledge that the appreciation of the arts is considered by many as a mark of social status. I confess that my delectation is far more visceral. Indeed I do not hesitate to go so far as to say that my artistic appetites are as elemental and overwhelming as any other human appetite. And happily my artistic appetite, unlike at least one primordial desire, has increased with age. I will grant that creativity feeds the mind and enhances one’s spirits by contributing to a sense of intrigue and inspiration. But in the same breath I am anxious to reaffirm the tactile delight (even if at times only metaphorical) I derive from industrial design for example. Just looking at the iPhone 6 or the Bose SoundLink Bluetooth mini speaker cheers me.
In times of seemingly endless political upheaval and universal wars and hardship it is heartening to reflect upon the continuing accomplishments of humanity. In this respect alone perpetual emerging talent is elevating. When it is so easy to dampen the enthusiasm for life it is uplifting to observe the budding of new energy and expression. In the case of industrial design it is the use of both applied art and applied science to improve the aesthetics, design, ergonomics, functionality, and/or usability of a product, and it may also be used to improve the product’s marketability and even production.