Sunday, September 26, 2010

September 3, 2010 Lecture and Reading

Living With Art, Rita Gilbert and Lecture

The Role of the Artist

Art is an avenue for communication of our history, the tangible, the intangible, and new perspectives on seeing the world.  Recording history allows for a conversation between people of the past and the present as in Horace Pippin's John Brown Going to His Hanging.  Pippin records an event in history that was passed down through his family about slavery and abolitionists.  In Andre Derain's The Turning Road, l'Estaque, he uses color to put a new twist on the landscape.

According to Gilbert, artists have dedicated themselves to the visual expression of creativity and have certain attributes that assist them such as sensitivity, flexibility, originality, and fluency to name a few.  The other side of this communication equation involves the observer and the considerations of the work's physical characteristics, the artist's intentions, and what it all means. To truly appreciate the visual expression, the observer must be informed and develop their viewing muscles.

Gilbert also discusses, "What is Art?"  In our lecture we discussed, "What is art to you?" and there were so many answers.  Is it art if there has been a lot of effort expended to create it?  Are photographs, nature, or artifacts art?  How about architecture, computer animation, or creating a new breed of animal?  Art is subjective and an individual's emotional response depends on their life experiences.  The impulse to create has always been because humans have always had the need to interact with their environment for survival by making tools for hunting, protection, farming, etc.  We also needed to communicate with each other and to connect for the survival of our species.  There are so many different ways to connect depending on what needs to be communicated, such as collaborative, organized systems for transportation or the need for clarity in advertising.

In this communication, artists can create non-representational art, which is not based on the real world, or representational art, which stands for the real thing.  In representational art there are four different styles of communication:
  • Naturalistic - as in nature
  • Realistic - true to life
  • Stylized - simplified to emphasis important details
  • Abstract - highly stylized and may not be recognizable
Every representation contains the specific details the artist chooses to include.  The process of Piet Mondrian's move from representation to complete abstraction was fascinating.  He began to be more interested in networks, relationships and the way shapes related rather than their natural representation.  The exercise that followed this lecture and reading was to choose two pieces of artwork and observe, interpret and support the interpretation with specific ideas.  This gave the class the opportunity to practice using these skills.

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