On Not Seeing
When I enjoy a painting in a museum, and I accept that I am not able to read the caption, I wonder: what else do I not see? It is true that I like the painting, and it is true that I know there is a caption. (If I could move close enough, I would read it but usually such notes escape me.) What is true about that? Yes, I did learn to read and learned that pictures of any exhibition have written information, usually about the artist, the time, and the theme. From the times back when I had sharp eyes I have such experience. But is that worth calling experience? Knowledge turned expectation. Can such knowledge be true? That much about captions, but what about the painting? If it is, as it should, unique, much of it, although I see enough to appreciate it, eludes me. What is it that – from the painting as I see it – I can expect? I do know that my vision is blurred or tainted because people tell me things I don’t see, but how can I extrapolate from my not seeing what is to be seen and what seeing actually might be? Getting closer, as far as is technically possible, I perceive more and more. This appears to verify my surmise that there is more to the painting than meets my eye. And yet more. When was that true – before or after I moved closer? And when I can’t go closer, is that the end of truth? Is precision an experience or a hypothesis? Is precision then perhaps expectation turned knowing?
Paul Richard Blum