Monday, May 18, 2009

"B" is For Barnside Beauty

One day last week during one of my routine "errand tours." I noticed the sunlit facade of a weathered old barn. I was stricken with the stunning variations that caught my eye, from the color changes to patterns and textural variation, in the wood. This facade was indeed like a permutation on the theme of aged wood. I was mesmerized.

This post shows several views of the same building, composed differently. The building has been patched, doctored, improvised upon, and altered through the decades, giving it even more interest. The original slats of siding are punctuated by the addition of glass, wire, and plexiglass, making it a repository of makeshift repair methods. You will note that none of these attempts detracts from the battered, antique quality of the wood.

I think I would define beauty as an aesthetic experience in which one's attention and perception are arrested and jolted out of everyday context and functioning, by a sensory stimulus (in this case, a visual) that causes one not just to pause, but to feel something akin to awe. Embedded in this kind of experience is, perhaps, a recognition of what C. S. Lewis called the experience of the "numinous."

C.S. Lewis was born into a Christian family. He became an atheist before he turned agnostic. At the age of 33 he became a believer, through exactly this kind of experience (couched in a deep joy through his visual and other sensory apparatus) which he considered to be evidence of a Greater Being, or God. He is perhaps best know for his children's series "The Chronicles of Narnia," but his writings on Christian religious views are extensive beyond his fiction works. My feeling when reading a few of his books was not that he was focused so much on a particular (in this case, Christian) view of the universe, so much as on the prevalence of what seem like miracles: phenomena of awesome beauty that reveal a great procreative power at the center of the universe.

C. S. Lewis' books are not easy reading, but I would recommend them to anyone interested in exploring religious and philosophical viewpoints.

Please note that on those occasions when I blog about religion or politics, I'm not espousing any particular belief system, merely exploring ideas in the spirit of sharing and communication.

All text and images c Lynda Lehmann. If you would like to view more of my art or make a purchase, please visit Lynda Lehmann Painting and Photography or my gallery at Imagekind, where you can buy my prints plain or matted and framed.

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