In the Interview on the Life and Faith of Patrick White, David Marr makes the point that Patrick had left conservative religion and went on his own search. His exploration took him on a journey through some Christian Mysticism, Carl Jung,
White lived a life of Simplicity. He portrayed simple people as very wise and spiritual people in a number of his books, including the one we studied. Riders in the Chariot portrays Miss Hare as one with great faith, but simple of mind.
The 1979 Billy Graham Crusade was a turning point for Patrick White. He decided that he couldn’t be a Christian any longer, as he didn’t wish to be associated with a religion which was more like a performance…”religion as opera”.
But it is Marr’s comments about the Patrick white book, The Twyborn Affair which perked my interest in purity and Patrick White. Patrick White writes in that book that “What life is about is the pursuit of Purity”. It was important for Patrick. A purity which incorporated moral purity, purity of life, of work and of spirit.
Patrick wanted to be a good man and defined good as being pure.
Brett Whiteley painted Alchemy as an Autobiographical painting in which if one reads it from right to left, finishes with gold, the pure product of the alchemist, and White, the colour of purity.
Brett Whiteley was inspired by Patrick White to the extent that he included a depiction of him in the work Alchemy.Brett Whiteley also left conventional Christianity and went on a spiritual journey that took him through the world of drugs, and eastern religions. He also looked at Blake at one stage, depicting Blake’s “Grain of Sand” on the same panel as his exploration depictions.
By depicting purity at the end of his life, I believe Brett Whiteley was seeking purity. I also believed he shared the views of White when White expressed contempt at one who was talented but not working on that talent as contemptible. But he saw in the writer Yukio Mishima one who sought to perfect his art, and one who sacrificed all for it as a pure soul; having achieved purity. Mishima had completed his journey and so decided to end it. I believe Whiteley was in awe of Mishima, and painted his portrait as a dedication to the writer.
We all search for something. Searching for purity seems good to me. I feel I have not let Patrick White down. My aim in life is to share beauty with those who cannot see it for themselves. I strive to do that. My motto is Creativity is a gift, given sparingly, to be used wisely. I think Patrick White would approve.