Monday, January 25, 2016

Response to Paul Klee

My immediate thought when I began reading this article was that it was very difficult to read.  I am not a person that has trouble reading; since first grade, I have had an accelerated reading level and I have always enjoyed it.  Finding something that I have trouble reading is a rarity, but this reading was very different than what I am used to.

As I worked through the article, I started to notice that it seemed like the information would be better conveyed in the form of a lecture.  It does not seem like that was how Klee intended the piece to be presented, but his syntax is very dynamic.  I think that sometimes words are not always best understood on a page, but  that may be because of my extensive involvement in performing arts.

 I think that part of the reason that it was so difficult for me to read was because it worked so hard to define and explain elements of art.  It seemed like from our last blog posts that many of my classmates, myself included, struggled with defining art.  Obviously, we do not have as much background and experience as Paul Klee, nor did we put as much time into formulating our definitions, but I came to the conclusion that we can never fully understand and define art. I felt that Klee was really striving to give a comprehensive definition of art in his introduction to the basics.  His examples and comparisons did not make sense to me.  I could tell that he was trying to compare something to sperm, but it was unclear to me, and I do not think that it was the best comparison to be drawn in any situation.

I felt that his introduction really took away from the point that he was trying to make explaining dots, lines, and planes.  I could kind of see the big picture, but the finer details of the explanation were lost in complex language.

Another reason I did not like the article is because I strongly disagreed with Klee's point that chaos in art is primitive.  The fact that he compared it to a child's scribbles made me feel personally offended.  In my own art, I think chaos plays a part in the pieces.
This is a sketchbook assignment I did in high school.  I made a lot of very deliberate, conscious choices in creating it.  My lines were drawn "governed by the laws" that Klee mentions.  The shapes are dynamic with diagonal tensions, as he described, and there is interpenetration between the planes in some places.  The place where chaos came into play was the color.  I chose the colors, but where they went was random.  I splattered them onto the page, looking away to avoid getting paint in my eyes.  The fact that I was not making a choices as to where the color fell should not remove the fact that it is art.  An element of chaos should not make a piece childish or not real art.  I did not like Klee’s explanations at all, and I do not think they were able to effectively help me get a better understanding at the basic elements of art.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Response to Saltz Article: What is Art?

When I began reading Saltz's article trying to define and explain art, I almost immediately came to a disagreement.  Saltz asserts that art on it's own cannot cure a disease and change the world, but it can inspire change.  I do not think this is completely true.  Sure, a painting will not be the solution to global warming or cure cancer, but I think that art can be found in the things that actually can.  There is a beauty or natural art that can be found in anything, especially depending on the way you look at it.  For example, many things have some sort of pattern when examined on the microscopic level.  Look at this picture of bacteria in the presence of an antibody vaccine.
This is something that is having a direct positive impact and can be considered art.Personally, I can see beauty in this image.  I am someone who likes images with designs and patterns, so it evokes a response and connection from me, which would make it art.  However, it is not necessarily intentional art.  It exists and it always will without an artist making intentional creative decisions.  This gives a kind of exception to his statement that art itself can change the world, but I would assert that art can be found in the things that can change the world.

Saltz’s discussion on art commenting on other art is something that I think is very interesting.  It made me think that all art is building off of everything else.  That reminded me of a discussion my literature class had today.  We talked about the importance of studying older writing because every writer builds off of the ideas of others.  I think this applies to art as well.  Each artist can put their own fresh take on an idea, but there is always some sort of precedent that has already been set.  Every piece of art is in some sort of conversation with every other piece, and this conversation can evolve with time.

I think that Saltz is making a very valid point in trying to refute the people that say that art is simple, shallow, and unimportant.  As someone who has been actively involved in performing arts for most of my life, I have seen them be brushed off as something useless.  I know firsthand that art is not always appreciated.  Saltz’s article is actually a great defense for education of the arts.  Some people need to learn to gain a deeper appreciation from art because they cannot connect with what they are seeing immediately, and should not expect to connect with everything that they see.  I think that art should be taught like the cat analogy from Eric Fischl.  We should be open to having an open relationship with art.  I have never felt that I have come to a complete understanding of a piece of art when I have looked at it; in fact, I have never really felt like I have a complete understanding of my own art.  But I have come to the point where I can see something, connect with, and react to it.  Saltz’s definition gives an open-ended but precise idea of what art is. I define art as anything, created intentionally or unintentionally, that can be seen by someone as beautiful.  It does not need a particular motivation or composition to fit this criteria; it just needs to evoke an emotional response, whether it be happiness, anger, calm, or anything in between.