The ways in which we learn are thought to occur in three ways.
Uncovering what you already know.
The first and second of these methods we get all the time... we are told what
to do and think; we are lectured and watch others examples and we know
the world by participating and experiencing it. The third way we learn is a
much more illusive and interesting method. It seems to involve a more
internal process of discovery and questioning. To uncover what we know
demands questions about how we perceive. The art philosopher John Dewey,
wrote "Perception is equivalent to creation". So for me the act of asking
these questions about perception is a search for creation.
My early years as of searching were spent at the university of Missouri at
Rolla studying as a mechanical engineer. In 1970 I bought my first slide
ruler... it now seems such a primitive tool for calculating numbers to
infinity but at that time Hewlett Packard hand calculators cost hundreds of
dollars ( a months living expenses to me). I was fascinated with physics
and the dynamics of force, motion and matter however my passion was
drawing... mechanical drawing was bliss... orthographic projection was my
forte... seeing three dimensionally was a natural intelligence for me and
hours at the drafting table was my artfully expression. The weight of
theory in engineering lost out to the aesthetics of form and after a year I
transferred to the Art Department at Washington University in St. Louis.
My dreams were of sculptural objects hovering in space. And I remember the
images of the Apollo moon landing ... the small step for man , the giant
leap for mankind ... the floating suited astronaut leaping above the moons
surface... defying my Earthly notion of gravity... feeding my early
sculpture visions... not those of static objects sitting on pedestals in a museum
but of substance changing and growing in space and time. I was much more
interested in atoms than objects... welding metal was not interesting
because of it's permanence but because for a moment it was molten, liquid
and malleable... there was a gap between the joys of the process and the
finished product... the 'uncovering' had not begun.
After receiving my Masters in Fine Arts majoring in sculpture my real work
began. Shortly after graduating from the State University of New York at
Buffalo I became involved in aesthetic education.
First working for the Western New York Institute for The Arts and later at
Lincoln Center Institute for The Arts and The Museum Of Modern Art. It is
within in the role of facilitator that creation begins. Not lecturing but
asking questions of what an art work says, that the uncovering began.
Enabling viewers through questions that demanded participation. It is not
that aesthetic education builds good artists.... it's that it presents the
tools for uncovering the "knowing"... I began to know how to know.