Friday, February 11, 2011

Dated June, 2009
I begin this entry with the intent of continuing my series of internal dialogues of life and an artist's perspective as I know it so far. Although I'm concurrently assembling another playlist of tracks that will run non-stop tonight as I embark on a quest that will likely destroy the next few days of my life. There is no gain without sacrifice, I believe, so I will have to offer sleep in exchange for glory. Okay, enough pre-asides.

Lately, I have become irritated by the platform of aesthetics that visual manipulators subscribe to. In critiques, I hear the opinions of the viewers and clearly understand the stance and implications voiced. In the Mariposa computer labs, I ear-hustled a discussion between graphic designers. Their thoughts almost mirrored the concepts I experience in the ASL studios, which isn't a stretch considering the common ground of design and fine art. Ultimately, I have formed a rather bitter statement about my colleagues in academia: we attempt to substantiate our works by maintaining the statutes of aesthetic, effectively limiting our ability to revolutionize (or at least progress) the craft. Narrowly focused, this argument applies to the self-aggrandizing centralism of the modern art world. We are all so caught up in these pretentious terms that only serve to define the abstract reality of the creations we admire or build. Sadly, the critical "eye" of the establishment only wants us to use the terms they sponsor or dictate. Foreign vocabulary, or even fabricated reasoning seems to be unacceptable. I believe that this kind of inward and exclusive specialty stunts the near-infinite properties of an artist's mind.
I tend to hear the same remarks almost every time another artist or intellectual viewer assesses a work. Statements like, "it has a good flow," or, "push and pull," or, "lead the eye," have begun to wear thin and sound extremely cliche. Other times, viewers will make references or identify imagery that may or may not have been intended. Is it that we must reference ourselves in order to relate to the work of another? Why must I reference a form so that others can reference it or create relevance? Consider then, a representative work, imagery, that is concise. A circle, perhaps. Insert an intuitive or maybe a chaotic and random application of colors and shapes within the circle. Then apply any number of ordered forms outside the circle. If you can imagine this circle framed and mounted, then let us assume this work was created in a short amount of time. Maybe this concept is extrapolated and reproduced or perhaps it spawned a sequence of works. We can appreciate the work as an exploration of some sort. Now, if the work is displayed, you will begin to hear a wide range of critiques that will be assuredly as varied as the work itself. Should the work be elevated in praise, the majority or influential sponsors will attribute the success according to a set of standards that reflect upon art world aesthetics and academic mastery. The imaginary work proposed was in fact unintentioned, completed while blindfolded, and about nothing at all. As metaphysical and hypothetical as it is, it is still a success. If you actually imagined it, you have contributed to its success. There were no trite critiques involved. Thank you for participating.
However, that was just an exercise. The fact remains is that the art world would not easily accept such a play. Honestly, I think the intelligenciarte do not appreciate cleverness. They would rather you spend money to enter a salon with accepted works in order for you to form your unique opinion of an object then persuade you to subscribe to the hype they build around it. Nevermind the necessity of experience, just agree that what you see in the establishment is more valuable. As an aside, I fully appreciate installation art for it's temporality, which is more truthful than most art (IMHO). Art is valued due to theories. True, there are laws involved in the physical processes, but the visual experience is theoretical, if not meta-philosophical or vaguely psuedo-religious. This is where I start to disagree with established theory.
Let us assume there is a color in an area of what was (prior to said color appearing) once a blank two dimensional picture plane. Or perhaps there is an emphasized form in a symmetrical three dimensional object. Then apply another color in a space that is not the previous. Or perhaps build another form in, on, around, or somewhere near the previous form on the symmetrical object. These terms and descriptions are vague for a reason. For any of the instances assumed, imagine any combination of form, color, or combination of both. Know that there was firstly an unassuming object, modified with a feature of your choice, then modified with another feature of your choice. There is now an object with two noticeable features in an otherwise unassuming form. Hell, you are free to concoct any wild scenario that involves two features on an object. Maybe it is two eyes on some twisted face. As a completed whole, this imaginary work will not be praised by the art world. It is static and boring. However, you were given freedom to imagine it, and it is a success. Nevermind the fact that it is something you accomplished (good for you), but it is uninspiring to the majority. Perhaps you recreate it in hopes of building upon that feeling of accomplishment. No reiteration or tangential work succeeds. It just didn't provide enough "push and pull," or "lead the eye," to any resolution that the aesthetic can agree with. Despite the fact that you knew the rules involved and decided to break them in order to challenge the establishment. Do not despair, because you know that acceptance into the glorious halls of academia is counter-intuitive to the challenging warcry you made against it.
Do not follow the format that is offered. Do that which comes naturally in the act of creation. Even if you are creating a concise image or referencing the concrete, the motions and the process and the product are placed in time and space, immutable and unique. Destroy your work and leave no evidence of its existence. It persists as memory and as irrefutable fact to whatever god you believe in. Regardless of a works ability to be observed, work produced as an extension of self is still art. Work produced with no relevance or empathy is still art. A rock on a white piece of paper, whether photographed or displayed as installation is still art (literally, hah!). The predication is that art is neither observed or physical, so long as it is a product of a human mind. If anything, art is the only thing so far that is unique to the homo sapien species. We possess the faculties of production and reasonable assessment to claim art.
So when viewers state uninspired remarks about a work, feel satisfied that they are parroting/parodying a theory. Even if an image has a set format with a directional composition whose narrative is meant to lead your eye to the resolution, discard the artist or the establishments intentions with the object. Absorb what you see, appreciate what you will of the work, and love it or hate it. Your eye and intuition will obviously follow a visual format, intended or not. You will have instantaneously assessed the object as you observed (except in the case of a three dimensional object, which you you may observe in multiple positions) as a representative whole. You will likely make an external or self reference. Whether you or the establishment liked it or not, you experienced it. Whether you observe the object again or it is disintegrated, at least one person experienced it. Whether or not it was observed in the first place, some kind of art came into existence by human process. This is a certainty you can live with and feel satisfied by.
Granted, certain theoretical combinations of color, form, context, and other fancy art terms do create an object or relationship of meaning that is visually compelling, but a masterful product is still a product. Its existence contributes to art. Art for arts sake, perhaps. How cliche did THAT sound, eh? The matter at hand is the inference of theory obstructing art. The more we define or over-define art, the less we actually agree with it. Setting parameters for an abstract idea is unimportant, the idea is.
So what is Art then? How are we to judge it? If there are no standards for art, why evaluate art work? For one, input should be appreciated, because outside opinion should only strengthen your own. Secondly, we should judge art as bluntly as possible, without regard for hurting feelings (ego). Harsh judgement is still judgement by another; your own opinion about your work is biased, but opt for a neutral stance. Definitely support your judgement with some kind of constructive criticism, but do not rely so heavily on reference or theory. If your eye/mind observes an object and is left wanting, then suggest that the artist produce more in a similar vein. There is something about the work that you do not quite see. Either you want to see more, or will have to come to grips with being unfulfilled. Certain aspects of an artwork will be more pronounced for you, appreciate that which is. The features that do not interest you are not a negative aspect. It may be that the artist intended that. Whatever the case, the artist produced a work that you do not have an overwhelming urge to destroy. Art is everything. Whether art catches your eye is a personal experience. At the highest level of praise, Art is God. Or rather, people incorrectly label God and have yet to understand it as Art. Nature is Art. Math is Art. Chaos is Art. A circle is Art. Art is the connection of human, reality, thought, and everything in between. If it can be appreciated by a human, it is art. Art becomes a relative/relevant concept when a human being presents an object to others.
Art is a language that presents an idea to be considered. All things in reality can be considered, thus all things can be Art. It is a tool, a myth, a science, a constant nightmare, and something that cannot be restrained. Did I mention that art is infinite?
Art should not be a difficult thing appreciate or assess, its just that the aesthetic that has been defined thus far intends to support its self-consistent version of art. When supporting others, it offers strict terms that reference itself. I call for an end to an exclusivity in aesthetics. Decorative terms in art theory only alienate or force one to accede to naivety. Even a work of minimalist simplicity in comparison to academic complexity can be factually described as a sequence of actions that produced artwork to be viewed. The processes involved may be different, but both agree to a convention of making an object that originated in the human mind. It is only the establishment that would seek to debase or wholly ignore your satisfaction because it just wasn't convenient enough for them.

And to abstract artists, you are in fact practicing art that is closer to reality than any academic realism. Its just that most of your work makes no sense! I would suggest mixing it up, just to keep the viewer guessing, even if you lose some fans. Eventually, what you do will not be favorable, but that is another certainty to deal with. Looking for the, "next big thing," in art is heartless. That mindset is meant to find some obscure concept to exploit in the art world. Unless you are a sycophantic opportunist, you have more important issues to address: your own.

Honestly, I'm tired of [writing this and] paying tribute for art or align myself with what others agree about it. It comes and goes, and is always there.

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