Tacit powers of knowing are integral to both art and life. The artist, no different than the scientist or innovator, follows his or her hunches, guided by intuition, and utilizes skills rehearsed to innate perfection. Michael Polanyi claims in The Tacit Dimension “the structure of perceptions throws light on all the rest.”
All knowledge derived from the perceptions is embodied, as the body defines how we take in the data of sense perception. We live in a shared but also uniquely individual world that we have grown to interpret by the particulars of reality that we interiorize in order to cognify and for which there is a comprehensible mental order and explanation.
In art history, the most famous example of one such individual was Cézanne. In his numerous paintings of Château Noir or Mont Sainte-Victoire, you see the way he scrutinized over his observations and how his technique was embodied. From one painting to the next, you can also see how his physical proximity to his subject factors into the composition. There is no scientific perspective in his paintings. The visage of reality is both near and far, a phenomenon of sensory experience determined both by his environment and his own subjectivity. In fact, you feel as though the only thing that is keeping him anchored in his paintings is that reflexive starting point in the “eye.”