The imaginative arts, like poetry and painting are, as the poet Seamus Heaney said, "practically useless", but "they verify our singularity, they strike and stake out the ore of self which lies at the base of every individual life."

Art's function is to create new perception from that ore of the self.

The abstract painter may discover new meaning through the act of working with his very plastic medium. Its physical characteristics can be decisive in shaping that meaning.