22 Nov Average Everydayness
My artist statement takes over 300 words to describe what I hope to capture in my oil paintings.
What I wish to capture, in as few words as possible, is average everydayness.
The term—a favorite of mine—comes from philosopher Martin Heidegger’s colossal book Being and Time.
Average everydayness (Alltäglichkeit in the original German) is the human condition, a perpetual state of being where things, ideas and actions are thoroughly conventional.
Through no fault of our own, we’re immersed in this state of conventional existence for most of our lives, rarely (if ever) responding to the world as true individuals.
Instead, we respond as the “everyman.”
“We take pleasure and enjoy ourselves as everyone else takes pleasure,” Heidegger wrote. “We read, see, and judge about literature and art as they see and judge; likewise we shrink back from the ‘mass of men’ as they shrink back; and we find ‘shocking’ what they find shocking.”
Although we like to think of ourselves as unconventional and “authentic,” for the most part we aren’t. We’re a lot like the Borg in “Star Trek,” inauthentic bots living in lockstep. Sure, you might scorn conventionality, but resistance is futile.
So why would I want to celebrate average everydayness?
Because it’s comfortable. Average everydayness is our common lot, our prevailing condition.
Like Brando, we love to play the wildly independent outsider; but we’re all thoroughly domesticated.
Van Gogh once told his brother, “I want to go through the joys and sorrows of domestic life.”
Above: Bouquet in Stoneware Jug. Oil on canvas board. 8 x 10 inches. (Sold.)