At one point Georges invites a fellow artist to his studio to view the work in progress. Jules cannot distinguish the shapes and colors; he only sees the dots. Georges explains that he must step back, get into the proper light, and let his eyes form the people, animals, and landscape that inhabit and cover the canvas. Up close, one sees dots. Viewed from a distance, an entire, complicated scene emerges. Color and light. It’s all in the perspective: how one looks, how one sees. Writing in Broadway: The American Musical (Applause Books, 2004), Michael Kantor and Laurence Maslon note that “[Seurat] put hundreds of thousands of dots on that canvas. And every one was a separate decision. Some people say there were five million individual decisions. And that’s what art is.”
Five million individual decisions. Five million “dots”. Five million representations of reality that are only complete and comprehensible when viewed from the perspective of the whole, because none of them exists in isolation. Just like us, just like life. Which is why, from time to time, we all need to back away from the confines of our own limited vantage points and look at the whole. Step back, and view the entire canvas. Move into the light, and let the colors emerge.