I was intrigued by yesterday’s article, NODAR: ART AND REALITY IN A PORTUGUESE RURAL COMMUNITY, particularly by Luis Gomes da Costa and Rui Gomes da Costa’s specific notion of the role of the rural artist and rural art. Like any aesthetic movement, some of the vocabulary seems broad and unspecific, zeroing in on an ideal. Though this ideal is exciting, it seems somewhat unattainable, and challenging to grasp.

So, I went back into the article and jotted down some of the parameters set up by Luis Gomes da Costa and Rui Gomes da Costa for rural art and artists. Rural art should be contextual rather than site specific; ethical, crude, and spontaneous rather than indulging in the horrific and lurid; it should draw on the historical rather than the political. Frequent adjectives used were real, natural, and true— hitting at the core of something. Richard suggested the term ‘primary’ as a less problematically vague description. Rural art should be sensitive, vivid, aware, essential experiential, shared and communicated, inspiring dynamism and tension. The artist’s role should be more than just recording the collective images, stories, knowledge, and experiences of a community. The artist needs to question, to drop preconceived notions, to enter a community in a state of uncertainty and openness.

Today I took some pictures of bread in a fractured landscape to humorously tap into the role of the rural artist according to Luis Gomes da Costa and Rui Gomes da Costa. The bread is the artist, “the other,” entering its environment in a state of soft, opened, awareness. It’s inserted into uncomfortable situations to absorb the weight of its environment. The bread’s intimate positions can’t help but respond and assimilate into the vocabulary of the natural world. In order to have any sort of conversation both the bread and the natural world have to meet on some sort of similar plane. Still the bread is a foreign element in the image becoming a backdrop, highlighting the natural elements of the image.