Here’s some of my favourite excerpts just from the very start of this book. I’m not going to lie, I’ve needed to swat up on some terms and related movements to get my teeth into this but so far it’s a very enjoyable read.
I want to start by simply sharing this. In a very simple way I think it explains the movements appeal and why it remains an important influence of many modern art forms. Lowbrow itself is intrinsically linked with surrealism in fact many refer to it as Pop-Surrealism. Either way the inquiring mind is something I feel is shared by all artists that paint fantasy subjects, at least in the wider sense. Although work which ‘beautifies’ has been welcomed back to the fold it is not without a sense of testing what is considered beautiful to many.
The few pages leading up to the next excerpt led to a bit of an awakening in my understanding of the witch trials. Admittedly this is something is for my own interest rather than something which directly affects my artwork but I think this is something that still fascinates a great number of people today. It is well known that the witch hunt was aimed at eradicating what has commonly perceived as evil and unnatural practices by the church. It is also well documented that the modern day devil figure was a later invention which did not exist as one singular, overarching figure in the Bible. The concept of one purely evil ‘devil’ is generally regarded to be something which was embellished and distorted during early years to become a tool in controlling and warning Christians against ‘ungodly’ behaviour. The modern christian Devil was born more out of the need to control those that would question and revolt against their leader’s ideals.
Yet with all this, I had never linked the rise of science with how even the modern Church has felt about scientific discoveries and the challenges it presents to the devout. It seems so clear to me now – the witch hunt was aimed at eliminating those who were alined to the Occult – and Alchemist’s were the scientists of the day. The witch hunts, something that has always felt like a singular moment in history, was actually part of something which has riddled the history books and continues to be a contentious issue today. Were the witch-hunts really the first war against science?
These musings may not be new ideas to others but it is something that has never occurred to me before. I’m no historian, I’ve never been greatly interested in wars and royal families but there are moments in history which offer vital insight into the world I live in today. Maybe not things that are of great concern to the larger world – but certainly my own little world where I live – lost in a cloud of fantasy and struggling to feel connected to the modern world and ‘current affairs’. Even the words make me shudder.
And as I seem to have got off topic here – back to the book. Although many of us feel we understand the meaning of Occult I found it useful to have key elements defined by the author whose words you’re reading: