One of my prized possessions is an old, dog-eared, yellowed copy of Concerning the Spiritual in Art, a book written by Wassily Kandinsky in 1911. This treasure was a gift from one of my college art professors. This book changed my life.
Widely credited as a theorist, the Moscow-born Kandinsky studied law and ecomomics before beginning to paint at the age of 30. He is often cited as having created the first abstract painting, but this is not entirely accurate. More correctly, Kandinsky was the first "non-objective" painter. "Non-objective" literally means 'not (derived from) an object'. In other words, Kandinsky freed the rest of us mortals from our reliance on realism.
A painting can be color and shape. A sculpture can be pure form. When you choose to create an object, it can be poetry. Art can and should be an experience that moves the observer on a soul level.
From his book's title, one can assume that Kandinsky saw art and a spiritual knowing as intertwined , all-encompassing and essential as breath. Well, the Great Man had me at the title!
To further cement my lifelong love, Kandinsky also proffered a theory that has a beautiful, true meaning for me: "music is the ultimate teacher". To that end, he wrote numerous essays on the analogy of color to shape, sound, note, volume - you name it - Kandinsky forever fused music and visual art in my mind.
Turns out, everything really is everything.
The above image is a reproduction of Kandinsky's famous "Composition VII", a painting from 1913 that he called his 'most complex' work. I call it a virtual cacophony of sight and sound.
I think Kandinsky's most complex work was Wassily Kandinsky himself.