Thursday, October 14, 2010

Making Sense of Art


Today's chapter begs the age old question, What is Art? I love the photo above and feel it has artistic qualities but don't know if I would call it art. It is my photo and I love the hazy look of it along with the glow of the buildings coming to light as darkness starts to fall. I didn't think about all that as I took the photo, I just loved the feel of it all.

Again Ted compares the animals to us, ".....constructing a robin's nest also requires an active effort. If I dismiss the bird's efforts as "nest-building", then why should Frank Lloyd Wright's efforts to that same end be accorded some privileged status as "architecture"? OK, robin's efforts are instinctive, while Wright's are the product of conscious reasoning, but should that make any difference?" So, should it? Wen commented yesterday, "I think spider webs are artistic but I think the spider uses them to catch his dinner." I too think animals are artistic...they are just oblivious to it. Are we artists because we make the art intuitively or because we have the reasoning and the words to describe what we do?

My comment on Katharine's blog yesterday:

I am finding the comparisons between the animal world and the human world very interesting. I think that many animals are artistic just oblivious to the art they create since they do it out of necessity (instinct).When we as artists create because we have to, it is called intuition and Ted states this is closely related. We also have the words to describe what is art to us and the emotions to feel the art we view. I don't necessarily think that the emotions have to be deep societal statements...sometimes the beauty of a moment frozen in time is enough to render someone speechless and everyone's moments/memories are different.

There are many books written on the subject of 'what is art?' and it has been discussed to death on many forums. I think every artist needs to define this for their own work vs. letting the world define their work for them. You can't let everyone be your critic. This isn't to say you shouldn't be aware of what the art world is doing so you know how you do or don't fit in-just don't let that define you.

This is all great positive self-talk for myself as I sit here today awaiting the return of my rejected book proposal. Dear friends took me out last Friday morning to 'set me straight' so to speak. They didn't conjole and say it would all be ok. Instead they gave sound constructive advice on moving forward and I was gently chided for my negative thinking. Not ones to give empty compliments, they stated my talents and told me to continue doing the work I love and everything would come in time. Impatient me still wants to yell, WHEN????.

The theme of that morning continued throughout the weekend with conversations with my husband, discussions on radio programs, and horoscopes (though normally taken with a grain of salt suddenly sounded prophetic).

I deem what I do art. Even the most traditional quilt that I have painstakingly assembled by hand over weeks/months is art due to my view of design and the imprint of my soul in every stitch.

In describing gardens, Ted says, "the most prevalent role of the garden today is simply to provide its maker with a small oasis of peace and privacy- a refuge from an increasingly harsh world." Shouldn't that be what art does for each of us whether you make it or admire it?


Suzanne Sanger said...

On my blog I have the following quotation: "Art actually lies in the act of creation, not in its result." G. Ellis Burcaw. I take that to mean that for something to be art it must be the result of a conscious act or series of acts. I don't agree that animals are artistic, which is defined as "having or revealing natural creative skill." If something is made by instinct in response to a physiological need, it isn't creative in the sense of being a deliberate act that is meant to lead to a work of art. To say that a spider is artistic, to me, denigrates art to a level that would fail to inspire artists, collectors, museums, or history to pay it homage. That does not mean that humans won't see the spider's web as artistic, but that judgment belongs to the human, not to the spider. I suppose I'm saying art is "in the eye of the beholder." A spider, or a dog, or a cat, or even a monkey isn't capable of recognizing anything as art. They recognize it as food or shelter, but art is a human concept, even more unique to the species than speech or love. And I don't even think this human concept is accessible to all humans. That's why we all know so many people who just don't get it. LOL.

Robin said...

I didn't mean to imply that animals actively make art. I think you stated it well by saying we (humans) find things animals do in their world as artistic. I think most of us would agree with that.