Sunday, August 04, 2013

Defining Art

There's no art without presentation. A seashell on the beach is nature but a seashell presented in a box or frame becomes art. The presentation or framing of something makes it into an exhibit, a sample of life. Likewise drawing a picture or taking a photo is a sampling of the world around us and puts a piece of that world into a rectangle or some other shape which captures it. It's an attempt to know the world by grabbing pieces or images of that world and sharing them with an audience. It's usually visual or audio but can be for any of the senses. Art is skill or knowledge in the presentation of something to a public. It is usually something which has been overlooked by everyone else and seen by the artist, who then shares his or her vision with everyone else. Making something out of nothing or, if not nothing, then a thing which was regarded as nothing until highlighted, brought out, focussed upon, spotlighted, made important. It represents the artist's perception which others walked past without noticing until it was framed and put on a platform. It is a kind of alchemy of perception, base metal into gold, random nature into meaningful form. Art brings to your attention something you needed to know. Perhaps because it is beautiful or perhaps because it is shocking or perhaps because it is a crime, such as the attack on Guernica. One way or another it is needing to be seen and known. It is always in the context of its world, never in vacuum, never disconnected from its source. Art is a fact, not a thing, a process not an object. It is becoming one thing while ceasing to be another. It is on the way from identity to identity and it is defined equally by what it is not and by the space in which it dwells as it is by substance, being, form and style. It is an implication and a marker of our past, present and future. We look again and again at good art because it contains a deeper level and deeper level beyond that, ultimately infinity in a box, all and everything in a frame. In the abyss is the depth of our own self.

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