*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
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* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Beauty seems to need quiet and take patience, both to create it and to experience it.
If our minds are filled with a long and urgent “to do” list, we are not likely to slow down enough to appreciate anything but the next line we can draw through our never-ending list. Yet every now and again something stops us. It arrests our constant external activity and search. We can be stopped by the way the light filters through the trees in our backyard or hits a bowl of fruit on our kitchen table. And we are silenced, even if momentarily. We can be stopped by cave paintings as easily as by a thirteenth-century tapestry or a fifteenth-century Italian painting. We may be impressed by the craft of the artist, but almost always what moves us most deeply is the beauty that is expressed by the craft.
In the face of beauty, we are silenced because beauty expresses silence. In lavishing attention on the object of the artwork, the consciousness of the artist can touch something divine, some transcendental quality, and that transcendent element now resides in the artwork. How do we know it? We feel it. We experience it. Our heart responds to that sublime quality the artist infused into the work.
Ian Roberts in Creative Authenticity: 16 Principles to Clarify and Deepen Your Artistic Vision
Comments are welcome!