Shades--of Painting at the Limit

Shades--of Painting at the Limit

Shades--of Painting at the Limit

Shades--of Painting at the Limit


"[Sallis's] ideas are presented in a singular, scholarly, remarkable, captivating, conceptually rigorous, dense, and deep manner.... Highly recommended." --Choice

"This fascinating book by one of the more original voices writing philosophy in English poses questions about the nature of the visible and invisible, sensible and intelligible." --Dennis Schmidt

What is it that an artist paints in a painting? Working from paintings themselves rather than from philosophical theories, John Sallis shows how, through shades and limits, the painter renders visible the light that confers visibility on things. In his extended examination of three phases in the development of modern painting, Sallis focuses on the work of Claude Monet, Wassily Kandinsky, and Mimmo Paladino--three painters who, each in his own way, carry painting to the limit.


Imagine light.

Try framing it for your inner vision. Try bringing it forth—or, as the case may be, letting it come forth—to fill that vision and fulfill its intention. Put into play your utmost phantasy in service to such a vision of light. Spur your phantasy on past every limit, as though it were a winged steed drawing you everis— compelled to convey the colors and shapes of those objects. Vision, rather, of the light that would precede all such contamination, light as it would have been before being put in service to things. Pure light. a light still completely untouched by things. a light that, even if traversing space, would itself have acquired no spatiality in this passage, this ever free passage. Such light could not but be pure radiance: a radiance that would not be the radiance of anything or of any place. and yet, though it could not but be pure radiance, such light could in the end not be anything at all: for—to redeploy the ancient phrase in an abysmal formulation—it would be beyond being, that is, if it were at all and were not precisely beyond being. Such light would be pure radiance and at the same time pure passage, time providing indeed the only possible connection, the horizon to which all that one could say of it would eventually have to be referred. Hardly a ground for expectations: What could one expect of a saying, a language, that in the end is moored only in that pure passage that one calls time? Lest all words dissolve, one will always need, then, to come back to the vision itself, which, if it is possible at all, must be an inner vision. Because, to be sure, pure radiance must remain untouched by . . .

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