The Once and Future Creation: the Work of Daniel
Essay by Eliot Benítez.
In its best sense, the expression "to the
artistically gifted, thought can be an embarrassing deficiency" is revisited
time and again by the great artists. It would have to do with an effort made
by the artist to capture the essential perception, sensation, whatever the essence
of artistic intuition might be. A great artist is an accomplished craftsman
in revealing to us these intuitions and in hiding from us those thoughts. Specially
in the plastic arts, the effort has to be extraneous given the ontological proximity
between vision and thought. The temptation arises to compare this to the secret
revealed by Prometeus: artistic intuition having been a privilege exclusive
to the gods, Prometeus' "problem" was not that he taught us how to
think but that he taught us how to see. This was truly unpardonable: Prometeus
established the possibility of the access of humanity to the specifically divine.
Having said all this, it is clear that the attempts
at art criticism, although legitimately human, cannot afford the possibility
of doing justice to the work of art. In this sense, a comment, yes, a general
comment about our present lives and their relationship to art would be a much
better homage since today's great art has to do with prophecy. Humanity's troubles
these days seem to require superhuman solutions: the paradox facing humanity
at this juncture is the strength of evil. The clash, the still definitive challenge
posed not only to us but to God is presented to us by Daniel Staal with rare
eloquence in the Dark Matrix. Petrified horror deterred by steel-like determination.
These symbols, which are our life, which were given to us at the beginning of
history, and which the misdirected workings of reason tried to humble in so
many ways, are stronger, clearer and more vital than ever before. This painting
alone should be enough to secure Staal's place among the great artists of the
end of the century.
Perhaps appropriately so, the next painting
I saw, 'Angel of Eden', seem to be announcing the decision to end the azoic
age. The angel, again, brings us the message of determination and resolve. This
is not in any sense a moment of doubt or much less of fear but of expressing
the studied and wise resolution of a judge. Life must be created out of this
horizon of ash-less flames, that is, not the life of the Phoenix bird, heroically
promising redemption but the life of a humanity without guilt and without pain:
"build a new life, inspired by legislative wisdom and sober love".
Passion would be again, human bondage. The challenge of expulsion of the sublime
by postmodern art has been retaken by Staal head on: "You don't really
need happiness", the Angel is saying to us, "yours should be a life
inspired by love and strengthened by duty". Nobody can ask for more from
a truly great artist and we do not need a stronger foundation for our freedom
than this ethically meaningful and important artistic vision. Thank you, Mr.
My CD Cover Signed
by Monster Magnet Vocalist Dave Wyndorf .