Painting Ontology

The ontology that emerges in painting is a certain "system of equivalences, a Logos of lines, of lighting, of reliefs, of masses—a non conceptual representation of universal Being". In short, painting is an attempt to gear into the unreflected, or brute, Being of lived experience and of which science is a secondary expression. In fact, in its inexhaustible nature, brute Being would invite an open proliferation of expressions, alleyways transcending our efforts to express it yet existing nowhere other than in our gestures, words and institutions.

To demonstrate the welcoming nature of this Being, Merleau-Ponty considers the evolution from the "prosaic" outline of objects to the modern notion of line. Lines are, of course fictions of representations, in the world lines are merely borders regions between things. Nevertheless, lines render visible the world, and in modern painting the line is not rejected, but rather re conceived as a "certain disequalibrium contrived within the indeference of the white paper; it is a certain hollow opened up within the dimension of the whole, generating space rather then representing space". 

The Merleau-Ponty Dictionary, Donald A Landes, Bloomsbury, London, New Delhi, New York, Sydney, © Donald A Landes 2013, page 79.