An exhibit of Paul Ré’s art would likely show more than it tells.
But a new large-format book of Ré’s artwork does both. It displays and it informs.
The 58 plates provide the reader with the beauty of his flowing, geometric art. They’re accompanied by extended, sometimes shorter poetic, explanations of the art’s varied sources and intentions.
The book is titled “Art, Peace and Transcendence – Réograms That Elevate and Unite.”
Réogram is the name the Albuquerque artist has given his “hybrid hand-digital prints.”
The images delight. They swoop and spin, slink and sway, as if they were shifting on the page in the very moment of viewing.
Just as the UNM-administered Paul Bartlett Ré Peace Prize is a vehicle for promoting peace so is his art; that advocacy gives his work a transcendent quality.
Ré studied physics at Caltech. But after graduation he decided to take what he learned in a different direction – visual art.
In the decades since that decision Ré has been living a creative life.
But it is creativity in the service of building bridges – between art and science, humans and nature, and especially, as he states in a poem, encouraging others to build bridges “spreading outward from their inner harmony to a Global Peace.”
Ré explains that the inspiration for his art has grown from multiple sources – philosophy, physics, his original music and poetry. They “work together and inform each other. I would hate to even separate them,” he said.
“Transcendence” surfaces in the book in two other contexts.
The last plate in the book, “Celestial Orbits” (2007), is dedicated to Raymond Jonson, a co-founder of the Transcendental Painting Group whose members tried to present spiritual truths through their abstract art. “Celestial Orbits” is also on the book’s dust cover.
The other reference is to the philosophy of Transcendentalism, an influence on Ré. He writes in the introduction that the philosophy holds that “a single, universal spirit permeates all of humankind and nature.”
Still, the strongest influence on Re has been Leonardo da Vinci. “He had a great reverence for life; he was a pacifist and vegetarian and he wanted to serve humanity with his art, inventions, and study of everything in nature,” Ré writes.
Ré will give a lecture at 3 p.m. Feb. 8 in the UNM Honors Center Forum.
The lecture, for the “Creative Impulse” class, is free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be for sale.