11 February 2015
ART, Visual Art/s and Painting
A dictionary will give a number of meanings for the word ART, for example:
a) paintings, drawings, etc
b)the activity of painting, etc,
c) paintings, drawing , etc as subjects of study,
d) arts, subjects of study that are not scientific subjects,
e) the arts, activities such as music, art, film, theatre and dance considered together,
f) an activity that needs special skill or knowledge.
Visual Arts, according to one dictionary, are types of art in which you make something for
people to look at, for example painting, drawing and photography - compare performing
Painting, according to one dictionary, is
a) a picture made using paint,
b) the activity of using paint to create a picture,
c) the activity of using paint to cover something.
It is possible to quibble about the above, to provide other meanings of these words,
to produce examples of other phenomena and activities not included in the above.
One finds numerous examples of such things in developments in Art, Visual Art/s
and painting in the last and present century.
The points I wish to explore here concern other issues and aspects of Art, the
Visual Arts and Painting. I wish to ask questions concerning the social, the
sociological, the psychological, the cultural and socio-cultural functions,
factors, aspects, purposes, values, uses, meanings, etc of these three
Let each of us ask ourselves -
what do I understand by Art?
by Visual Art?
Would my responses be different depending on when (what age) I am asked these
Would the responses of more educated and less educated people differ?
Would the responses of those who work in the arts and sciences, commerce,
crafts, skills (skill such as carpentry, mechanics, engineering, etc),
sports, etc different?
Would the responses differ according to age groups, to the ethnicity,
the culture, the country (of origin, upbringing) and the historical period
in which individuals live?
These questions should give us the insight that there is no one, absolute
thing that is referred to by the words - Art, Visual Art and Painting.
However, this is merely touching the surface, considering these things
in general and from the outside in some kind of timeless, universal
context, perspective and point of view. I wish to make these questions
more personal by involving the values (in general and aesthetic ones
in particular), the attitudes, the feelings, emotions, perceptions,
mind sets, frames of reference and of understanding, interpretations,
assumptions. suppositions, pre-suppositions, etc of every individual.
What do I expect from Art, from Visual Arts and from Painting?
What do I consider to be good, average or bad Art, Visual Art,
What are the norms and standards I employ to make these judgments?
What are the things I employ to make sense, interpret, respond to,
encounter, react to paintings in general or a specific painting?
Am I aware of these rules and norms I employ? Are these norms
objective, intersubjective, universal, personal, emotional?
Where did I obtain them? Did I develop them myself, obtain them from
professionals, by education, relatives?
Do I consider the medium being used, the techniques, the process of
painting, the structures (such as form, colours, composition, textures,
etc), my emotional reaction to a painting?
What do I want from, seek from and expect art and a painting to do,
to be, to present or represent?
Does it make a difference to my perception and judgement if I know
the name of the painter? If the painter is unknown or a famous and
established artist? Why are different prices placed on the work of
different paintings? Are the paintings themselves being considered
or the name of the artist, the price paid for his work, his fame, etc?
Does the size of a work of art matters ? Do large paintings that I enter
and become part of or small works that I treat as if they are objects,
like a chair or table, I look AT make a difference how I react to
and interpret a painting?
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11 February 2015
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