The Word “Fluidism” And The Art Of Classifying Art
I question artists who use the word, “fluidism” too lightly to categorize their creations.
From The Beginning
Toss a cup full of paint against a wall. Allow the resulting splatter to run naturally. Wait a bit for its shape to stabilize. Now study what you see, and try to paint an exact representation of it.
I dare say that even the best realistic painter would have to concentrate intensely, in order to paint an accurate picture of what Nature has already painted perfectly and randomly. Nature needs no brain-based concentration beyond an artist’s relatively unskilled manipulations of colored liquids on selected surfaces. Nature simply paints such paintings faster and better than any thinking being. In these cases, artists are collaborators with the cosmos.
When I use the word, “fluidism”, therefore, I am referring to Nature’s paintings. I am referring to artworks that occur as a direct consequence of how liquid paints run, spread out, collide, divide into streams, or otherwise behave, without a thinking person’s formal intentions.
The universe has a thoughtless way of shaping liquids that I sometimes call “the logic of liquid”. The logic of liquid produces streams, splatters and other wet dynamic shapes. These shapes arise unpredictably. They are spontaneous expressions of human sensory reflexes. These shapes, thus, are primitive expressions of the universe itself.
Flowing fluids reveal the fundamental nature of physical reality. The ways in which fluids behave, in fact, are the causes of human anatomy, human physiology, ... human existence.
Each human body is well over 50 per cent water. The planet from which all human bodies arise is approximately 70 per cent water. From an evolutionary point of view, human beings are carbon-based bags of seawater that walk upright on bony stilts. When we paint with water-based paints, therefore, we do so with the basic substance of ourselves.
Artist Tom Byrne
Tom Byrne... has suggested that, because his art inspires philosophical insights about fluids, he can label his style of art with the word, “fluidism”. I strongly disagree, because I believe that he mostly inflates the word, “fluidism” with clear conceptions without substantiating his conceptions with clear visualizations of fluidity. He, thereby, robs the word of its usefulness in classifying paintings whose substrates themselves are the subjects that visualize the meaning of “fluid” far more effectively.
Tom implies that I am unjustified to criticize his choice of stylistic label in my article, ... FAKE Fluidism--Artists Claiming Fluidism Art NOT Real FLUIDISM Artists. ... He further insists that he was the first person to coin the word, “fluidism” to classify art.
At best, both Tom and I arrived at this word independently. The question is, however, “Who has put this word to better use for classifying art?” My suggestion is that I have put the word to better use. My artistic claim to this word is based on an attempt to formulate a clear etymology for it. Etymology deals with the true sense of words, and I believe that my use of “fluidism” helps establish such a true sense of this word in the art world.
When I criticize Tom, therefore, I am not, in any way, questioning his skill or excellence as an artist. Instead, I am questioning his choice of a label to categorize his style of art.
Visualization Versus Conceptualization
My goal is to use words in ways that inform viewers and historians unambiguously. Consequently, anyone who claims that the word, “fluidism” applies equally to my style and to Tom’s style is misguided. There is perhaps a better word to describe what Tom does, and he is more distinguished (with less confusion), if he chooses a different “ism” to categorize his art style.
Tom’s style might very well do what his artist statement claims, “reflects our temporary corporal forms as well as the eternal quantum foam of the universe, both forever in flux”, but his actual paintings do not fulfill this claim visually. Rather, his paintings fulfill this claim only conceptually. In other words, my artworks PRESENT a clear VISUALIZATION of the fundamental fluid nature of the universe, whereas Tom’s artworks REPRESENT an underlying CONCEPTUALIZATION of this fluid world-view.
The Basis Of Words
Freely flowing masses of liquid can be both art subjects and art substrates simultaneously. A number of artists in the past and in the present have dealt with this sort of art subject/substrate. Elsewhere, I have named contemporary artists besides myself who engage in the process of negotiating such works. All such works have a similar appearance. Specific details of these works might differ, but they still present a distinctive artistic style worthy of a clear label. I have chosen the label, “fluidism” very carefully, independent of anybody else’s use of this label to describe art. This label clearly and directly captures an unmistakable visual quality, by way of a deep connection to the true meaning of the word, “fluid”.