July Issue 2001
Artworks in Asheville, NC, Features Works by Bruce K. MacDonald
When ... Now? an exhibition featuring works by Bruce K. MacDonald is the second in a series of new monthly exhibitions featuring established and emerging artists at Artworks in downtown Asheville, NC. The exhibit will be on view July 7 through Aug. 2.
The following isMacDonald's Thoughts While Painting: "What is intelligible? Where is the membrane between what we know and what we guess? How far can the patterns we perceive carry us into the previously unknown? Can they be accurate? Well ... intelligible pattern did lead us to knowledge of the atom long before one was ever seen. What's next? Who knows? I have to guess. That's why I paint. But pattern seems fundamental. Long after all of the cells of body and brain have replaced themselves, the pattern of childhood memory persists. It outlasts the cells which first contained it. Will it outlast me? Just how important is pattern? Oh! My! A decrease of one electron in the atomic pattern of carbon - the stuff upon which my physical brain is based - would turn it into boron, a nearly inert substance. No wisecracks please! Relativity theory made it clear that there can be no such thing as a point in space - there can only be a point in space now! Time is the fourth locating dimension. Without it, the pattern of the other three is incomplete. But has anyone ever actually seen a dimension? Is time "real"? Einstein didn't think so saying, "for us believing physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion." (Einstein archives 7-245). So that must be what Blake was imagining when he said: "to see the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower; hold infinity in your hand and eternity in an hour" (Auguries of Innocence). When I tap on the membrane between what I fancy I know and what I can only guess, there seems to be a compassionate and welcoming giggle from the other side. My usual frame of reference dissolves. When ... Now?"
Modern physics has had a profound influence on almost all aspects of human society; the changes brought about by modern physics go beyond modern technology, extending to the realm of thought and culture and leading us to a deep revision in our conception of the universe and of our relation to it, leading us to a worldview in which scientific discoveries can be in perfect harmony with spiritual aims ... a worldview which is essentially mystical. MacDonald's paintings are an exploration of the parallels between the mathematical worldview of modern physics and mysticism, embracing integration between the two.
After graduating from Harvard University with a Masters and PhD in Fine Arts, MacDonald served on the curatorial staff of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He then became Director of Exhibitions of the Hayden Gallery at MIT, organizing large and small exhibitions. In 1976, he joined the staff of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston as their Dean and after serving in this capacity for 16 years, MacDonald retired in 1994 "... to fully pursue my own creative work."
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