What is Awe and Wonder?
By James David Parker
The impact of perspective in Western art during the Renaissance is a significant matter that deserves thorough understanding. The growth in the different, separate and subjective worldview refers to the systematic and rule-based portrayal of physical or mental subjects as if being observed by a viewer in a specific space and time, laid the foundation for Western art and created an idealised concept of human conditionality.
The Renaissance was also a time when Copernican cosmology emerged, challenging the notion of Earth’s centrality and asserting the centrality of the Sun. But paradoxically, it was also a time when the separate and atomised individual was more significant than any divine or spiritual understanding.
A worldview reflected in perspectival art arose during this period, which celebrated the construction of reality from a particular perspective and positioned human conditionality as the ideal.
However, a reality outside the human mind would transcend the limitations of any particular perspective or human conditionality, and science can test like a sensor that there is apparently empirical activity out there.
My understanding of art is rooted in this awareness of unconditionality. It’s not intended to affirm the position of human conditionality or the separateness of the viewer but to surpass any particular perspective or conditionality entirely and to evoke a sense of awe and wonder.
I create art to go beyond the expectation of constructing a world from a particular conditionality. Meaning it transcends any conditionality. Instead, it’s intended to reflect unconditionality to inspire awe and wonder in the viewer.
The Renaissance’s move towards perspectival art was a significant shift in Western civilisation, moving from a culture centred on the divine to one centred on the human condition. The avant-garde art that emerged in the modernist period responded to this tradition but constrained its dependence on the concept of perspective.
To genuinely reflect the unconditionality and inspire awe and wonder, we must move beyond the constraints of perspective and create art beyond human conditionality.
The exploration of awe and wonder in art, particularly within the context of transcending human conditionality, shares a profound connection with the concept of magic. Both concepts delve into realms that surpass the limitations of everyday existence, inviting us to experience something extraordinary.
Just as art seeks to go beyond the boundaries of perspective and conditionality, magic aims to transcend the constraints of the ordinary and tap into mysterious forces or phenomena. Both art and magic possess the power to transport us to realms where the rules of the mundane world are suspended, and we are confronted with the extraordinary and the unknown.
In the pursuit of unconditionality, art and magic intertwine. They challenge our perceptions, expand our imagination, and invite us to contemplate realities that lie beyond our usual understanding. They evoke a sense of awe and wonder by immersing us in experiences that go beyond the rational and predictable, awakening a sense of enchantment and fascination.Just as a magician crafts illusions that defy logical explanations, an artist can create works that evoke a similar sense of magic. Through their mastery of technique, composition, and symbolism, artists can weave narratives and evoke emotions that transport us to ethereal realms or evoke a sense of the numinous.
Moreover, both art and magic can tap into our innate sense of curiosity, inviting us to explore the mysteries of the world and our own existence. They provide a gateway to transcendence, enabling us to contemplate the interconnectedness of all things and glimpse the profound beauty and harmony that underlie the fabric of reality.
Ultimately, the pursuit of awe and wonder in art and the realm of magic share a common goal—to inspire us to see the world with fresh eyes, to challenge our preconceptions, and to awaken our sense of childlike wonder. They offer glimpses into realms where the extraordinary becomes possible, inviting us to embrace the magical aspects of life and to find meaning beyond the confines of the mundane.
In addition to its artistic aspects, magic is often accompanied by a sense of reverence. The art of magic has a long history, rooted in ancient traditions and mysticism. Throughout the ages, magicians have been regarded with a certain awe and respect for their ability to create seemingly impossible feats. This reverence stems from the profound impact that magic can have on its audience, evoking feelings of wonder, astonishment, and even a touch of the supernatural.
The art of magic inspires a sense of reverence for the skill and dedication required to master it. Magicians spend countless hours refining their techniques, practicing their sleight of hand, and perfecting their performances. They strive to create moments that transcend the ordinary and evoke a sense of wonderment in their spectators. This commitment to their craft is admired and respected, much like any other form of artistic mastery.
Furthermore, magic often involves a sense of mystery and the unknown. The magician becomes a conduit between the visible and the hidden, playing with our perceptions and challenging our understanding of reality. This ability to tap into the enigmatic and perplexing aspects of life can create a profound sense of reverence for the mysteries that lie beyond our comprehension.
Additionally, the experience of witnessing magic can evoke a spiritual or transcendent response in some individuals. The unexplainable nature of certain tricks or illusions can ignite a sense of awe, prompting contemplation of the mysteries of existence. Magic, in this context, becomes a vehicle for exploring the boundaries of human understanding and our relationship with the inexplicable.
Magic as an art form encompasses not only artistic creativity, performance skills, and storytelling but also carries an inherent reverence. It captivates audiences, evoking a sense of wonder and awe while exploring the mysteries of the human condition and the world we inhabit. Through its ability to transcend ordinary perception, magic inspires reverence for the artistry, dedication, and the profound impact it can have on our senses and our perception of reality.