Art, Reality, and the Imagination


Over the past year, we at SG have been thinking about how to respond to recent political events and their disturbances to our routines—our routines of thinking, our routines of art production and commentary, our routines of perception of our individual and collective realities. While we feel relatively powerless to effect social or political change, we still think that what we do as writers, publishers, and people involved in art does have meaning. In fact, we believe art and writing have real power to change individuals and to influence society.

With this in mind, we’re pleased to present work by six artists: Sophie K. Arnold, Khara Devlin Gilvey, Tim Kent, Eric LoPresti, Jeremy Mangan, and Enis Sefersah.

We hope this artwork raises questions about the ways that beauty and ethics are entwined. If the immediate visual impact of art registers upon our aesthetic sensibility, then we recognize as well that the stories that the art contains are those that speak to our experiences, our times, and our understanding of ourselves as historical beings.

For each featured artist, SG presents two images. In addition, we asked each artist to respond to two questions about the intersection of art, the imagination, and “the real.” To give the artists some context for the questions, we offered the following quotes:

What is [the artist’s] function? Certainly it is not to lead people out of the confusion in which they find themselves. Nor is it, I think, to comfort them. I think his function is to make his imagination theirs and that he fulfills himself only as he sees his imagination become the light in the minds of others. –Wallace Stevens

The first effort at resistance to the effects of catastrophes, so deeply tied to the workings of tyrannies, is a poetics before a politics. –Édouard Glissant