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Bloore’s Dialectic

Stong House studio, York University campus, Toronto

Art-making, like most human endeavors, is a complex, evolving pursuit. Each series of works evolves in a natural way, because each work itself comes about by an organic proccess. Similarly, the artist too progresses, and the world he paints for. But this evolution is not Darwinian. The developments flow from consciously directed experimentation, not random mutation, and the discoveries that come from these experiments are subjected to targeted aesthetic judgment, not natural selection. External forces like market saleability or the conditions attached to commissions have no bearing at the level of the creative process. It is not without design. On the contrary, it is intelligent design.

Along the way the painter's aesthetic choices either create new problems as they address old ones, or they resolve into a stable, new style, a fresh but formulaic beauty. Bloore emphasized that the job of the artist, technically speaking, is to focus on new artistic challenges and not over-resolve stylistic solutions because they are evolutionary dead ends. He must make new beauty for his culture but also new challenges for his culture and for himself. In a sense it is just like any job, balancing our two perennial and contrary needs; for reassurance and pleasure on the one hand, and for novelty and adventure on the other. These are the needs of the individual craftsman as much as they are the demands of the market at large.

Pursuing the creative process, a painter’s artistic development depends on exploring and judging the expressive potentials of each advance in technique in light of what he wants to express. His paramount concern is content. What reassurances and what adventures is he giving value? The evolution of his values, if they evolve at all, reflect the maturation of the artist. The novelties and pleasures reflect his devotion to the craft.

Bloore's dialectic is rooted in rejecting resolution as a satisfactory solution. The demonstration that something can be beautifully and completely resolved is tantamount to an assurance that some things are ultimately fathomable and that is a dangerous falsehood. It is a lie, Bloore said, we have been telling ourselves since Giotto.

“Any truly creative work should be a revelation to the beholder, an extension of his experience in life, not a confirmation of that which he already knows.”
- R. L. Bloore *

Wallace ’16
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Peter Pan 2006-15
Bloore at 80, 2005
Art Company ’03
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Not Without Design
Drawings 1960-88
Regina 5 Two, 1981
Here And Now ’62
Win Hedore ’60

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