The Art of Fred Martin
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Brief essay of the month, July 2006

The Crystal Dish
(from Studio Notes, January 2003)


When a work carries for the artist such a burden of life past and hope to come, and when the artist sends the work out from the studio into the world, all those feelings of his remain behind in the studio and in his heart. What there is in the world, is an aesthetic object... a crystal dish shaped by the artist to hold the fruits of his life, a dish offered now to the people of the future to hold the fruits of their lives.

The materials of our making are whatever we have at hand to make what we can to say what we must. But afterward—and this is the tragedy of art—there remains in the object only the form of our feelings and not the whole substance of feeling we had poured into it.

Walter Pater said the art we have made is the house we have built. But, he did not add that other people have already remodeled the house or torn it down.