At some fundamental level, art works in areas beyond our understanding and articulation. Through means of representation, and even abstraction, it shows
us something we do not otherwise see, puts to visual what eludes explanation in other terms. This is not merely a reason for the surreal or spiritual in art, it is just as much why we continue to paint landscapes or human figures, because something like beauty is so very hard to describe. As such, much of the best art resides in mystery, mapping zones of experience that no matter how frequently we return to them seem nearly uncharted.
Our virtue and delusion among all species resides in how we use imagination as a tool to fill in the voids of comprehension, to picture what might be there or conjecture the reasons for what is. Call it our horror vacuii—the pathological fear of the empty that insists we fill it up—or perhaps it is our equally innate compulsion to make our mark wherever we go, but in the mind or the material world, we can only comprehend what is not of us by somehow making it our own.
Much as early man looked to the vast unknown of the heavens above and projected a diagrammatic cosmology of animals and gods upon the stars, using the known and recognizable to make intelligible aspects of the universe beyond our ken, Jason deCaires Taylor proffers the identifiable as a kind of literal anchor by which we can navigate the mysteries of the ocean deep with some level of discernment.