The sacrament of Art
David Jones Artist 1895-1974
Art for David Jones is a sacramental process – the record of interface with God.
Artworks are the fragments of traces left over from this colloquy. These residues are in exact remains and it is their very imperfections that compel artists obsessively to continue with this process of creating each day; and indeed in all of our life it is our failures that are the catalyst to regain the contact we seek from the luminous. This is the second universal role of art; it takes us away from sectarian divisions into the unifying reality of the divine. Jones explains religion as a splint (religio: to bind) which binds all things together, or unifies. When an artwork succeeds it transcends the maker and even ostensible concerns of style or subject. By the very nature of its process art is an accessory and transcendent in its function.
Some artists therefore have used the apposite analogy with prayer. To enter into either significantly, the chief problem is to silence our chattering minds. We pre-empt the challenge of the new or unexpected by filling in the silences needed in order for us to be reflective. Instinctive reaction is to close down the danger that wonder or mystery presents through unguarded associations, by describing categories and familiar explanations. Instead as, Metropolitan Anthony insists, our approach should be as if into a cave from which the roar of a wild beast admits. All our senses alert, the expectation is that anything there emerge from the darkness. The prayerful approach places the open empirical experience of the artwork first and the verbalising analytical dissection second.