*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Why does art elicit such different reactions from us? How can a work that bowls one person over leave another cold? Doesn’t the variability of the aesthetic feeling support the view that art is culturally determined and relative? Maybe not, if we consider the possibility that the artistic experience depends not on some subjective mood but on an individually acquired (hence variable) power to be affected by art, a capacity developed through one’s culture in tandem with one’s unique character. For evidence of this we can point to works that seem to ignore cultural boundaries altogether, affecting people of different backgrounds in comparable ways even though a specific articulation of their personal responses continues to vary. Consider the plays of William Shakespeare or Greek theater, or the fairy tales that have sprung up in similar forms on every continent. We could not be further removed from the people who painted in the Chauvet Cave, nor could we be more oblivious as to the significance they ascribed to their pictures. Yet their work affects us across the millennia. Everyone responds to them differently, of course, and the spirit in which people are likely to receive them now probably differs significantly from how it was at the beginning. But these permutations revolve around a solid core, something present in the images themselves.
J.F. Martel in Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice: A Treatise, Critique, and Call to Action
Comments are welcome!
A: At its core all art is communication. I personally believe that without the component of communication, there is no art. The expression of human creative skill and imagination becomes art when it is appreciated for its beauty, complexity, emotional power, evocativeness, etc. A sympathetic and understanding audience is essential.
Why might artists fail to communicate? Perhaps they haven’t mastered their medium sufficiently to elicit a reaction from the viewer. Perhaps the viewer lacks the necessary artistic, cultural, or intellectual background to understand and appreciate what the artist is communicating. Maybe the viewer is distracted or preoccupied and not looking or thinking deeply enough. There are many reasons.
Comments are welcome!