Rhythm, Art, and Ceremony

If art is ceremony, then rhythm is art’s sacrament.


The 2-D image was born of the experience of ceremony and sacred place.  The intent of the 2-D image was to express communion with an other, as opposed to communication for a self. To do so, the 2-D image addresses and plays with time through the use of spatial rhythms. This is universally practiced in the creating of mandalas (and sacred architecture as 3-D image) the world over. In the visual arts, space is used to play with time to address spirituality.


The spatial rhythms found in sacred images and architecture come from the temporal rhythm of music. A lesson relearned in modern painting as abstraction looked back to the primordial chaos of music to express ceremony as opposed to object. This is, historically, the break with the beautiful picture for the truthful picture. Here the artist studied the subject of time to mark their personal religious/spiritual ideas and practice ceremony. This practice of abstraction creates a vein that runs through modernism …from Cezanne to cubism, and from Kandinsky, to Pollack and Motherwell.


Rhythm is the activity, the sacrament, of ceremony. Rhythm is implemented to address the subject of time as integral to the spiritual problem of awareness. For a spiritual problem, your answer is rhythm.


The issue of awareness is a question of time, not of space…not the spatial object separated from the subject. Our ‘created me’ (idea of an ideal self) separates the self from the other by referencing itself via reflexive memory. This is the self looking for itself for affirmation. When the self seeks for proof of itself, we don’t see an other, we do not experience an aesthetic event or experiential awareness, but only know a then and there.  Rhythm is implemented in ceremony to direct us. Rhythm does not let you run away to then and there, but keeps you now and here, here, here.


Rhythm paradoxically creates stillness, a singular oneness, that can be called eternity.


This is rhythm as reality, the beat of rhythm as reality, each movement of rhythm as ontological truth… manifesting a unique of the universal. Here rhythm is an expression of the universal one that is a unique many. The beat stops and starts…with a start and a stop, as a now, now, now.


Rhythm is used to express universality in ceremony as beat and as bead. Rhythm is a string of beads …religions the world over hang their very meaning on a string of beads. This is a metaphorical symbol of a spiritual reality.   


-Paul Rude, ©2007

Paul Rude ©2012, All Rights Reserved

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Paul Rude ©2012, All Rights Reserved