Letter from Miles to David Seaton
Letter from Miles to David Seaton
Miles Richmond, Unpublished, February 4th 2008
I was grateful for the opportunity to go drawing with you. That great place where the light enfolds the mountains and the mountains enwrap the light is magical, and I was grateful seeing the work you are doing since it is obvious that my days in such places, if not over, are numbered, but you can look forward to years of solid work in the wonderful laboratory of light that surrounds Ronda, where the light can stir us with their stick, and you now have a body of work showing a serious commitment to nature.
It has long been my concern (as it was for Bomberg) that too many of the talents of the C20th, after finding an aesthetic, opted for celebrity in a city, rather than for testing and probing it in the face of nature, so that Victor Pasmore could say: 'We're not interested in the world out there any more', which he spoke like a VIP. But I think of him as a very indifferent painter. It is the continuing research into the mystery surrounding us that makes the European tradition important. After their stints in London, working, teaching, exhibiting, Constable and Turner got back as quickly as they could, to the fields and mountains. It was the same with the French painters until the C2Oth. Physical theory has moved so far and so fast since then and it is a wonder to me why so few painters are adapting their aesthetic to the modem world and testing it in the face of nature. Without a theory of art we simply stare blindly at nature. Without a new theory of art we can only see nature as our predecessors saw it. Since I am no longer of any practical use: others do all the practical things for me, and as the time and energy I have left for working may be brief, it may be useful to describe a line of research that may be worth pursuing, or may turn out to be nonsense. But unless we continue research in all fields, as vigorously as we can, we risk falling victims to the confident authority of fundamentalists, growing in confidence if we lack enlightenment.
My theory is that we exist as individuals in a world of individuals but we also exist at the quantum level. The painter, confronting nature, gradually leaves this macroscopic identity and approaches the field of quantum energies. The chemistry of our bodies is continually emitting quanta of energy. The inspiring subject (the bowl of light we stood in around Grazalema) is another powerful field of quantum energy. The desire to establish some living relation to ones subject stimulates a discharge of quantum energy. This stream of energy encountering the quantum energy of the subject creates a polarisation (since calling it my subject gives it an opposite charge). These quanta are, according to relativity, called 4-vector, (three space and one time vector). Meeting as apposed charges causes a flash, destroying each pair of 4- vectors. Out of this explosion (since no energy can be lost) is created a new photon of light and a graviton. This physical event produces in consciousness that extraordinary illumination and sense of power and grandeur beyond space and time totally other than ordinary seeing. Blake was right: 'All that we see is vision, by generated organs gone as soon as come, permanent in the imagination.' It is, literally, a generated organ, gone as soon as come. It is the recovery of the trace left in the imagination that can make drawing at times an arduous business. But your work shows that you are seriously engaged and this may all be old hat to you: the world moves on. You gave us such love and care I wanted to share a thought with you. If it' s off the rails, into the bin!
Much love to you all, Miles