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Dan Schmahl (BFA 12′)

Published December 12, 2012

In Search of the Sublime

“View – Babe”

While contemplating the roots of adventure, and what is to be gained by such a seemingly frivolous task, I came to the conclusion that the urge to be overwhelmed by any kind of wild is usually done with hopes of experiencing the sublime. The sublime being a sensation of delight composed of both pleasure and terror, usually in the presence of something incomprehensibly grand, vast or boundless. Through researching how the sublime has been represented within the history of visual culture, I am attempting to determine its role in contemporary art and society. I have found that many aspects of American new age movements, as well as 1960’s counter-culture, parallel the underlying thought processes about the sublime addressed in the romantic paintings of the nineteenth century and the abstract expressionist movement in late mid-century America, and have been using the juxtaposition of these sources as inspiration for my work. By culling these sources for visual and conceptual cues to better represent something, which I hope to be both timely and lasting, I hope to inspire the search for a sublime that is universally relevant to everyone experiencing this human condition in which we all take part.