Visual Art

The visual arts are art forms that create works which are primarily visual in nature, such as ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, printmaking, modern visual arts (photography, video, and filmmaking), design and crafts. These definitions should not be taken too strictly as many artistic disciplines (performing arts, conceptual art, textile arts) involve aspects of the visual arts as well as arts of other types. Also included within the visual arts are the applied arts such as industrial design, graphic design, fashion design, interior design and decorative art.




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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Definition of Art : Traditional

Traditional Definitions

Traditional definitions, at least as commonly portrayed in contemporary discussions of the definition of art, take artworks to be characterized by a single type of property. The standard candidates are representational properties, expressive properties, and formal properties. So there are representational or mimetic definitions, expressive definitions, and formalist definitions, which hold that artworks are characterized by their possession of, respectively, representational, expressive, and formal properties. It is not difficult to find fault with these simple definitions. For example, possessing representational, expressive, and formal properties cannot be sufficient conditions, since, obviously, instructional manuals are representations, but not typically artworks, human faces and gestures have expressive properties without being works of art, and both natural objects and artifacts produced for the homeliest utilitarian purposes have formal properties but are not artworks.

But the ease of these dismissals serves as a reminder of the fact that traditional definitions of art are not self-contained. Each traditional definition stands in (different) close and complicated relationships to its system's other complexly interwoven parts — epistemology, ontology, value theory, philosophy of mind, etc. For this reason, it is both difficult and somewhat misleading to extract them and consider them in isolation. Two examples of historically influential definitions of art offered by great philosophers will suffice to illustrate. First, Plato holds in the Republic and elsewhere that the arts are representational, or mimetic (sometimes translated “imitative”). Artworks are ontologically dependent on, and inferior to, ordinary physical objects, which in turn are ontologically dependent on, and inferior to, what is most real, the non-physical Forms. Grasped perceptually, artworks present only an appearance of an appearance of what is really real. Consequently, artistic experience cannot yield knowledge. Nor do the makers of artworks work from knowledge. Because artworks engage an unstable, lower part of the soul, art should be subservient to moral realities, which, along with truth, are more metaphysically fundamental and hence more humanly important than beauty.

Beauty is not, for Plato, the distinctive province of the arts, and in fact his conception of beauty is extremely wide and metaphysical: there is a Form of Beauty, of which we can have non-perceptual knowledge, but it is more closely related to the erotic than to the arts. (See Janaway, and the entry on Plato on Rhetoric and Poetry.) Second, although Kant has a definition of art, he is for systematic reasons far less concerned with it than with aesthetic judgment. Kant defines art as “a kind of representation that is purposive in itself and, though without an end, nevertheless promotes the cultivation of the mental powers for sociable communication.” (Kant, Critique of Judgment, Guyer translation, section 44)). The definition, when fully unpacked, has representational, formalist and expressivist elements. Located conceptually in a much broader discussion of aesthetic judgment and teleology, the definition is one relatively small piece of a hugely ambitious philosophical structure that attempts, famously, to account for, and work out the relationships between, scientific knowledge, morality, and religious faith. (see the entry on Kant's Aesthetics and Teleology) For treatments of influential definitions of art, inseparable from the complex philosophical systems in which they occur, see, for example, the entries on 18th Century German Aesthetics, Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Dewey's Aesthetics.

Functional Art

Functional (mainly aesthetic) definitions


Functional definitions take some function(s) or intended function(s) to be definitive of artworks. Here only aesthetic definitions, which connect art essentially with the aesthetic — aesthetic judgments, experience, or properties – will be considered. Different aesthetic definitions incorporate different views of aesthetic properties and judgments. See the entry on aesthetic judgment.

As noted above, some philosophers lean heavily on a distinction between aesthetic properties and artistic properties, taking the former to be perceptually striking qualities that can be directly perceived in works, without knowledge of their origin and purpose, and the latter to be relational properties that works possess in virtue of their relations to art history, art genres, etc. It is also, of course, possible to hold a less restrictive view of aesthetic properties, on which aesthetic properties need not be perceptual; on this broader view, it is unnecessary to deny that abstracta like mathematical entities and scientific laws possess aesthetic properties.)

Monroe Beardsley's definition holds that an artwork: “either an arrangement of conditions intended to be capable of affording an experience with marked aesthetic character or (incidentally) an arrangement belonging to a class or type of arrangements that is typically intended to have this capacity.” (Beardsley, 1982, p. 299. For more on Beardsley, see SEP, Beardsley's Aesthetics)Beardsley's conception of aesthetic experience is Deweyan: aesthetic experiences are experiences that are complete, unified, intense experiences of the way things appear to us, and are, moreover, experiences which are controlled by the things experienced. (SEP Dewey's Aesthetics). Zangwill's aesthetic definition of art says that something is a work of art if and only if someone had an insight that certain aesthetic properties would be determined by certain nonaesthetic properties, and for this reason the thing was intentionally endowed with the aesthetic properties in virtue of the nonaesthetic properties as envisaged in the insight. (Zangwill, 1995)Aesthetic properties for Zangwill are those judgments that are the subject of “verdictive aesthetic judgments” (judgements of beauty and ugliness) and “substantive aesthetic judgements”, (e.g., of daintiness, elegance, delicacy, etc. ). The latter are ways of being beautiful or ugly; aesthetic in virtue of a special close relation to verdictive judgments, which are subjectively universal. Other aesthetic definitions are easily obtained, by grafting on a different account of the aesthetic. For example, one might define aesthetic properties as those having an evaluative component, whose perception involves the perception of certain formal base properties, such as shape and color. (De Clercq, 2002).

Views which combine features of institutional and aesthetic definitions also exist. Iseminger, for example, builds a definition on an account of appreciation, on which to appreciate a thing's being F is to find experiencing its being F to be valuable in itself, and an account of aesthetic communication (which it is the function of the artworld to promote). (Iseminger, 2004) Another definition that combines features of institutional and aesthetic definitions is David Davies'. Davies adopts Nelson Goodman's account of symbolic functions that are aesthetic (a symbol functions aesthetically when it is syntactically dense, semantically dense, syntactically replete, and characterized by multiple and complex reference, which he takes to clarify the conditions under which a practice of making is a practice of artistic making. (Davies 2004; Goodman 1968)

Aesthetic definitions have been criticized for being both too narrow and too broad. They are held to be too narrow because they are unable to cover influential modern works like Duchamp's ready-mades and conceptual works like Robert Barry's All the things I know but of which I am not at the moment thinking - 1:36 PM; June 15, 1969, which appear to lack aesthetic properties. (Duchamp famously asserted that his urinal, Fountain, was selected for its lack of aesthetic features.) Aesthetic definitions are held to be too broad because beautifully designed automobiles, neatly manicured lawns, and products of commercial design are often created with the intention of being objects of aesthetic appreciation, but are not artworks. Moreover, aesthetic views have been held to have trouble making sense of bad art. (see Dickie, Art and Value, and Stephen Davies, Philosophy of Art, p. 37) Finally, more radical doubts about aesthetic definitions center on the intelligibility and usefulness of the aesthetic. Beardsley's view, for example, has been criticized by Dickie, who has also offered influential criticisms of the idea of an aesthetic attitude. (Dickie 1965, Cohen 1973, Kivy 1975)

To these criticisms several responses have been offered. First, the less restrictive conception of aesthetic properties mentioned above, on which they may be based on non-perceptual formal properties, can be deployed. On this view, conceptual works would have aesthetic features, much the same way that mathematical entities are often claimed to. (Shelley 2003, Carroll 2004) Second, a distinction may be drawn between time-sensitive properties, whose standard observation conditions include an essential reference to temporal location of the observer, and non-time-sensitive properties, which do not. Higher-order aesthetic properties like drama, humor, and irony, which account for a significant part of the appeal of Duchamp's and Cage's works, on this view, would derive from time-sensitive properties. (Zemach 1997) Third, it might be held that it is the creative act of presenting something that is in the relevant sense unfamiliar, into a new context, the artworld, which has aesthetic properties. Or, fourth, it might be held that (Zangwill's “second-order” strategy) works like ready-mades lack aesthetic functions, but are parasitic upon, because meant to be considered in the context of, works that do have aesthetic functions, and hence constitute borderline cases. Finally, perhaps heroically, it can be denied that Duchamp's Fountain is a work of art. (Beardsley1982).

As to the over-inclusiveness of aesthetic definitions, a distinction might be drawn between primary and secondary functions. Or it may be maintained that some cars, lawns, and products of industrial design are on the art/non-art borderline, and so don't constitute clear and decisive counter-examples. Or, if the claim that aesthetic theories fail to account for bad art depends on holding that some works have absolutely no aesthetic value whatsoever, as opposed to some non-zero amount, however infinitesimal, it may be wondered what justifies that assumption.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Aesthetics of Art II

Ancient aesthetics


We have examples of pre-historic art, but they are rare, and the context of their production and use is not very clear, so we can little more than guess at the aesthetic doctrines that guided their production and interpretation.

Ancient art was largely, but not entirely, based on the seven great ancient civilizations: Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, Persia, India and China. Each of these centers of early civilization developed a unique and characteristic style in its art. Greece had the most influence on the development of aesthetics in the West. This period of Greek art saw a veneration of the human physical form and the development of corresponding skills to show musculature, poise, beauty and anatomically correct proportions. Furthermore, in many Western and Eastern cultures alike, traits such as body hair are rarely depicted in art that addresses physical beauty.[citation needed] More in contrast with this Greek-Western aesthetic taste is the genre of grotesque.

Greek philosophers initially felt that aesthetically appealing objects were beautiful in and of themselves. Plato felt that beautiful objects incorporated proportion, harmony, and unity among their parts. Similarly, in the Metaphysics, Aristotle found that the universal elements of beauty were order, symmetry, and definiteness.

Islamic aesthetics

Islamic art is not, properly speaking, an art pertaining to religion only. The term "Islamic" refers not only to the religion, but to any form of art created in an Islamic culture or in an Islamic context. It would also be a mistake to assume that all Muslims are in agreement on the use of art in religious observance, the proper place of art in society, or the relation between secular art and the demands placed on the secular world to conform to religious precepts. Islamic art frequently adopts secular elements and elements that are frowned upon, if not forbidden, by some Islamic theologians.

According to Islam, human works of art are inherently flawed compared to the work of God; thus, it is believed by many that to attempt to depict in a realistic form any animal or person is insolence to God. This tendency has had the effect of narrowing the field of artistic possibility to such forms of art as Arabesque, mosaic, Islamic calligraphy, and Islamic architecture, as well as more generally any form of abstraction that can claim the status of non-representational art.

The limited possibilities have been explored by artists as an outlet to artistic expression, and has been cultivated to become a positive style and tradition, emphasizing the decorative function of art, or its religious functions via non-representational forms such as Geometric patterns, floral patterns, and arabesques.

Human or animal depiction is generally forbidden altogether in Islamic cultures because it is said to lead to sculptural pieces which then leads to worship of that sculpture or "idol". Human portrayals can be found in early Islamic cultures with varying degrees of acceptance by religious authorities. Human representation for the purpose of worship that is uniformly considered idolatry as forbidden in Sharia law. There are many depictions of Nabi Muhammad, Islam's prophet, in historical Islamic art.

The calligraphic arts grew out of an effort to devote oneself to the study of the Quran. By patiently transcribing each word of the text, the writer was made to contemplate the meaning of it. As time passed, these calligraphic works began to be prized as works of art, growing increasingly elaborate in the illumination and stylizing of the text. These illuminations were applied to other works besides the Quran, and it became a respected art form in and of itself.

Indian aesthetics

Indian art evolved with an emphasis on inducing special spiritual or philosophical states in the audience, or with representing them symbolically. According to Kapila Vatsyayan, "Classical Indian architecture, sculpture, painting, literature (kāvya), music, and dancing evolved their own rules conditioned by their respective media, but they shared with one another not only the underlying spiritual beliefs of the Indian religio-philosophic mind, but also the procedures by which the relationships of the symbol and the spiritual states were worked out in detail."

In the Pan Indian philosophic thought the term 'Satyam Shivam Sundaram' is another name for the concept of the Supreme. 'Sat' is the truth value, 'Shiv' is the good value & 'Sundaram' is the beauty value. Man through his 'Srabana' or education, 'Manana' or experience and conceptualization and 'Sadhana' or practice, through different stages of life (Asramas) comes to form and realize the idea of these three values to develop a value system. This Value-system helps us to develop two basic ideas 1) that of 'Daksha' or the adept/expert and 2) of Mahana/Parama or the Absolute and thus to judge anything in this universe in the light of these two measures, known as 'Adarsha'. A person who has mastered great amounts of knowledge of the grammars, rules, & language of an art-form are adepts (Daksha), where as those who have worked through the whole system and journeyed ahead of these to become a law unto themself is called a Mahana. Individuals idea of 'Daksha' and 'Mahana' is relative to one's development of the concept of 'Satyam-Shivam-Sundaram.' For example, Tagore's idea of these two concepts should be way above any common man's and many perceive Tagore as a 'Mahana' Artist in the realm of literature. This concept of Satyam-Shivam-Sundaram, a kind of Value Theory is the cornerstone of Indian Aesthetics.

Of particular concern to Indian drama and literature are the term 'Bhava' or the state of mind and rasa referring generally to the emotional flavors/essence crafted into the work by the writer and relished by a 'sensitive spectator' or sahṛdaya or one with positive taste and mind. Poets like Kālidāsa were attentive to rasa, which blossomed into a fully developed aesthetic system. Even in contemporary India the term rasa denoting "flavor" or "essence" is used colloquially to describe the aesthetic experiences in films; "māsala mix" describes popular Hindi cinema films which serve a so called balanced emotional meal for the masses, savored as rasa by these spectators.

Rasa theory blossoms beginning with the Sanskrit text Nātyashāstra (nātya meaning "drama" and shāstra meaning "science of"), a work attributed to Bharata Muni where the Gods declare that drama is the 'Fifth Veda' because it is suitable for the degenerate age as the best form of religious instruction. While the date of composition varies wildly among scholars, ranging from the era of Plato and Aristotle to the seventh century CE. The Nātyashāstra presents the aesthetic concepts of rasas and their associated bhāvas in Chapters Six and Seven respectively, which appear to be independent of the work as a whole. Eight rasas and associated bhāvas are named and their enjoyment is likened to savoring a meal: rasa is the enjoyment of flavors that arise from the proper preparation of ingredients and the quality of ingredients. What rasa actually is, in a theoretical sense, is not discussed and given the Nātyashāstra's pithy wording it is unlikely the exact understanding of the original author(s) will be known.

The theory of the rasas develops significantly with the Kashmiri aesthetician Ãndandavardhana's classic on poetics, the Dhvanyāloka which introduces the ninth rasa, shānta-rasa as a specifically religious feeling of peace (śānta) which arises from its bhāva, weariness of the pleasures of the world. The primary purpose of this text is to refine the literary concept dhvani or poetic suggestion, by arguing for the existence of rasa-dhvani, primarily in forms of Sanskrit including a word, sentence or whole work "suggests" a real-world emotional state or bhāva, but thanks to aesthetic distance, the sensitive spectator relishes the rasa, the aesthetic flavor of tragedy, heroism or romance.

The 9th - 10th century master of the religious system known as "the nondual Shaivism of Kashmir" (or "Kashmir Shaivism") and aesthetician, Abhinavagupta brought rasa theory to its pinnacle in his separate commentaries on the Dhvanyāloka, the Dhvanyāloka-locana (translated by Ingalls, Masson and Patwardhan, 1992) and the Abhinavabharati, his commentary on the Nātyashāstra, portions of which are translated by Gnoli and Masson and Patwardhan. Abhinavagupta offers for the first time a technical definition of rasa which is the universal bliss of the Self or Atman colored by the emotional tone of a drama. Shānta-rasa functions as an equal member of the set of rasas but is simultaneously distinct being the most clear form of aesthetic bliss. Abhinavagupta likens it to the string of a jeweled necklace; while it may not be the most appealing for most people, it is the string that gives form to the necklace, allowing the jewels of the other eight rasas to be relished. Relishing the rasas and particularly shānta-rasa is hinted as being as-good-as but never-equal-to the bliss of Self-realization experienced by yogis.

Chinese aesthetics

Chinese art has a long history of varied styles and emphases. In ancient times philosophers were already arguing about aesthetics. Confucius emphasized the role of the arts and humanities (especially music and poetry) in broadening human nature and aiding “li” (etiquette, the rites) in bringing us back to what is essential about humanity. His opponent Mozi, however, argued that music and fine arts were classist and wasteful, benefiting the rich but not the common people.

By the 4th century A.D., artists were debating in writing over the proper goals of art as well. Gu Kaizhi has 3 surviving books on this theory of painting, for example, and it's not uncommon to find later artist/scholars who both create art and write about the creating of art. Religious and philosophical influence on art was common (and diverse) but never universal; it is easy to find art that largely ignores philosophy and religion in almost every Chinese time period.

African aesthetics

African art existed in many forms and styles, and with fairly little influence from outside Africa. Most of it followed traditional forms and the aesthetic norms were handed down orally as well as written. Sculpture and performance art are prominent, and abstract and partially abstracted forms are valued, and were valued long before influence from the Western tradition began in earnest. The Nok culture is testimony to this. The mosque of Timbuktu shows that specific areas of Africa developed unique aesthetics.

Western medieval aesthetics


Surviving medieval art is primarily religious in focus and funded largely by the State, Roman Catholic or Orthodox church, powerful ecclesiastical individuals, or wealthy secular patrons. These art pieces often served a liturgical function, whether as chalices or even as church buildings themselves. Objects of fine art from this period were frequently made from rare and valuable materials, such as gold and lapis, the cost of which commonly exceeded the wages of the artist.

Medieval aesthetics in the realm of philosophy built upon Classical thought, continuing the practice of Plotinus by employing theological terminology in its explications. St. Bonaventure’s “Retracing the Arts to Theology”, a primary example of this method, discusses the skills of the artisan as gifts given by God for the purpose of disclosing God to mankind, which purpose is achieved through four lights: the light of skill in mechanical arts which discloses the world of artifacts; which light is guided by the light of sense perception which discloses the world of natural forms; which light, consequently, is guided by the light of philosophy which discloses the world of intellectual truth; finally, this light is guided by the light of divine wisdom which discloses the world of saving truth.

Saint Thomas Aquinas's aesthetic is probably the most famous and influential theory among medieval authors, having been the subject of much scrutiny in the wake of the neo-Scholastic revival of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and even having received the approbation of the celebrated Modernist writer, James Joyce. Thomas, like many other medievals, never gives a systematic account of beauty itself, but several scholars have conventionally arranged his thought—though not always with uniform conclusions—using relevant observations spanning the entire corpus of his work. While Aquinas's theory follows generally the model of Aristotle, he develops a singular aesthetics which incorporates elements unique to his thought. Umberto Eco's The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas identifies the three main characteristics of beauty in Aquinas's philosophy: integritas sive perfectio, consonantia sive debita proportio, and claritas sive splendor formae. While Aristotle likewise identifies the first two characteristics, St. Thomas conceives of the third as an appropriation from principles developed by neo-Platonic and Augustinian thinkers.
Lorsch Gospels 778–820. Charlemagne's Court School.

With the shift from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, art likewise changed its focus, as much in its content as in its mode of expression.

Modern aesthetics

From the late 17th to the early 20th century Western aesthetics underwent a slow revolution into what is often called modernism. German and British thinkers emphasised beauty as the key component of art and of the aesthetic experience, and saw art as necessarily aiming at absolute beauty.

For Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten aesthetics is the science of the sense experiences, a younger sister of logic, and beauty is thus the most perfect kind of knowledge that sense experience can have. For Immanuel Kant the aesthetic experience of beauty is a judgment of a subjective but similar human truth, since all people should agree that “this rose is beautiful” if it in fact is. However, beauty cannot be reduced to any more basic set of features. For Friedrich Schiller aesthetic appreciation of beauty is the most perfect reconciliation of the sensual and rational parts of human nature.

For Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, the philosophy of art is the "organon" of philosophy concerning the relation between man and nature. So aesthetics began now to be the name for the philosophy of art. Friedrich von Schlegel, August Wilhelm Schlegel, Friedrich Schleiermacher and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel have also given lectures on aesthetics as philosophy of art after 1800.

For Hegel all culture is a matter of "absolute spirit" coming to be manifest to itself, stage by stage, changing to a perfection that only philosophy can approach. Art is the first stage in which the absolute spirit is manifest immediately to sense-perception, and is thus an objective rather than subjective revelation of beauty.

For Arthur Schopenhauer aesthetic contemplation of beauty is the most free that the pure intellect can be from the dictates of will; here we contemplate perfection of form without any kind of worldly agenda, and thus any intrusion of utility or politics would ruin the point of the beauty. It is thus for Schopenhauer one way to fight the suffering.

The British were largely divided into intuitionist and analytic camps. The intuitionists believed that aesthetic experience was disclosed by a single mental faculty of some kind. For Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury this was identical to the moral sense, beauty just is the sensory version of moral goodness. For Ludwig Wittgenstein aesthetics consisted in the description of a whole culture which is a linguistic impossibility. That which constitutes aesthetics lies out side the realm of the language game.

For Oscar Wilde the contemplation of beauty for beauty's sake was not only the foundation for much of his literary career but was quoted as saying "Aestheticism is a search after the signs of the beautiful. It is the science of the beautiful through which men seek the correlation of the arts. It is, to speak more exactly, the search after the secret of life.".

Wilde famously toured the United States in 1882. He travelled across the United States spreading the idea of Aesthetics in a speech called "The English Renaissance." In his speech he proposed that Beauty and Aesthetics was not "not languid but energetic. By beautifying the outward aspects of life, one would beautify the inner ones." The English Renaissance was, he said, "like the Italian Renaissance before it,a sort of rebirth of the spirit of man".For Francis Hutcheson beauty is disclosed by an inner mental sense, but is a subjective fact rather than an objective one. Analytic theorists like Henry Home, Lord Kames, William Hogarth, and Edmund Burke hoped to reduce beauty to some list of attributes. Hogarth, for example, thinks that beauty consists of (1) fitness of the parts to some design; (2) variety in as many ways as possible; (3) uniformity, regularity or symmetry, which is only beautiful when it helps to preserve the character of fitness; (4) simplicity or distinctness, which gives pleasure not in itself, but through its enabling the eye to enjoy variety with ease; (5) intricacy, which provides employment for our active energies, leading the eye on "a wanton kind of chase"; and (6) quantity or magnitude, which draws our attention and produces admiration and awe. Later analytic aestheticians strove to link beauty to some scientific theory of psychology (such as James Mill) or biology (such as Herbert Spencer).

Post-modern aesthetics and psychoanalysis


Early twentieth century artists, poets and composers challenged existing notions of beauty, broadening the scope of art and aesthetics. In 1941, Eli Siegel, American philosopher and poet, founded Aesthetic Realism, the philosophy that reality itself is aesthetic, and that "The world, art, and self explain each other: each is the aesthetic oneness of opposites."
Various attempts have been made to define Post-modern aesthetics. The challenge to the assumption that beauty was central to art and aesthetics, thought to be original, is actually continuous with older aesthetic theory; Aristotle was the first in the Western tradition to classify "beauty" into types as in his theory of drama, and Kant made a distinction between beauty and the sublime. What was new was a refusal to credit the higher status of certain types, where the taxonomy implied a preference for tragedy and the sublime to comedy and the Rococo.

Croce suggested that “expression” is central in the way that beauty was once thought to be central. George Dickie suggested that the sociological institutions of the art world were the glue binding art and sensibility into unities. Marshall McLuhan suggested that art always functions as a "counter-environment" designed to make visible what is usually invisible about a society.[page needed] Theodor Adorno felt that aesthetics could not proceed without confronting the role of the culture industry in the commodification of art and aesthetic experience. Hal Foster (art critic) attempted to portray the reaction against beauty and Modernist art in The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture. Arthur Danto has described this reaction as "kalliphobia" (after the Greek word for beauty - 'kalos').André Malraux explains that the notion of beauty was connected to a particular conception of art that arose with the Renaissance and was still dominant in the eighteenth century (but was supplanted later). The discipline of aesthetics, which originated in the eighteenth century, mistook this transient state of affairs for a revelation of the permanent nature of art.Brian Massumi suggests to reconsider beauty following the aesthetical thought in the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari.

Daniel Berlyne created the field of experimental aesthetics in the 1970s, for which he is still the most cited individual decades after his death.

Pneumaist aestheticism is a theory of art and a highly experimental approach to art negating historical preconceptions of the aesthetic.

Jean-François Lyotard re-invokes the Kantian distinction between taste and the sublime. Sublime painting, unlike kitsch realism, "...will enable us to see only by making it impossible to see; it will please only by causing pain."

Sigmund Freud inaugurated aesthetical thinking in Psychoanalysis mainly via the "Uncanny" as aesthetical affect.Following Freud and Merleau-Ponty,Jacques Lacan theorized aesthetics in terms of sublimation and the Thing .

IMPORTANT IN VISUAL ART DESIGN

Elements of Art

Form is an element of art that is three-dimensional and encloses volume. Cubes ,spheres,and cylinders are examples of various forms. Line is an element of art which refers to the continuos mark made on some surface by a moving point. It may be two dimensional, like a pencil mark on a paper or it may be three dimensional(wire) or implied( the edge of a shape or form) often it is a outline,contour or silhouette. Shape is an enclosed space defined by other elements of art. shapes may take on the appearance of two-d or three- objects. Color Is an element of art with three properties1) Hue, the name of the color, e.g. red, yellow, etc. 2) Intensity or the purity and strength of the color such as bright ness or dullness. And 3) value, or the lightness or darkness of the color. Texture refers to the surface quality or "feel" of an object, such as roughness, smoothness, or softness. Actual texture can be felt while simulated textures are implied by the way the artist renders areas of the picture. Space refers to the distance or area between, around, above or within things. It can be a description for both 2 and 3 dimensional portrayals. Value describes the lightness or darkness of a color. Value is needed to express Volume.

Principles of Art
Emphasis in a composition refers to developing points of interest to pull the viewer's eye to important parts of the body of the work. Balance is a sense of stability in the body of work. Balance can be created by repeating same shapes and by creating a feeling of equal weight. Harmony is achieved in a body of work by using similar elements throughout the work, harmony gives an uncomplicated look to your work. Variety refers to the differences in the work, You can achieve variety by using difference shapes, textures, colors and values in your work. Movement adds excitement to your work by showing action and directing the viewers eye throughout the picture plane. Rhythm is a type of movement in drawing and painting. It is seen in repeating of shapes and colors. Alternating lights and darks also give a sense of rhythm. Proportion or scale refers to the relationships of the size of objects in a body of work. Proportions gives a sense of size seen as a relationship of objects. such as smallness or largeness. Unity is seen in a painting or drawing when all the parts equal a whole. Your work should not appear disjointed or confusing.


Art criticism:

The skills of art criticism

Examine any object we are willing to call art. In order for it to exist someone had to produce it. Skills of observation, representation and interpretation had to be joined with skills of rendering and creation to bring this work into existence. These are the skills associated with art production. In order to fully understand the symbols, subjects and themes affiliated with this work and how the work relates to the culture and times in which it was produced, one must be familiar with its heritage; seeking answers to the who, when, what and why questions. These are issues associated with art history. But in order to appreciate the significance of this work, one must be able to identify, describe and interpret what is actually in the work in terms of its expressive properties, and to assess, or make judgments about, the work's personal and social values. This is, of course, within the realm of art criticism.

Identifying and describing -- if one is to respond to a work of art as fully as possible, it is essential that effort be invested in carefully examining every aspect of the work. Specific shapes, colors, values and textures, and where these visual qualities are located need to be identified. Illusions of form, space and gesture must be observed. One should look for what is obvious as well as nuances and subtleties. In addition, what is observed needs to be articulated. This can be done intuitively and/or analytically, silently with oneself or in discussion with others. The key point is the necessity to elucidate what has been experienced in order to verify the validity of one's observations; e.g., describing the range of colors, variations in dark and light qualities, the width of lines, and tactile and visual textures, as well as the extent to which organic and/or geometric shapes and illusions of deep and shallow space exist. If qualities within the art work are not observed, than one's response will be stunted and appreciation will be limited. If qualities are ascribed to the work that do not actually exist within it, than one's response will be invalid.

Analyzing -- another objective activity is to contemplate how the characteristics of the work that have been identified and described are organized. Are visual qualities arranged primarily symmetrically or asymmetrically? Are there colors, textures or shapes that are clearly dominant because of their relative size or repeated use? What kind of implied or actual movements can be identified? Are their large sinuous curves or staccato-like gradations or transitions? Are contrasts among and between visual qualities very obvious and conflicting, or subtle and harmonious? It is essential to analyze as carefully as possible how visual qualities are arranged because the nature of these qualities and their distribution are the best and most legitimate indicators of what is being expressed both overtly and covertly.

Interpreting -- making an accurate assessment of the formal "objective" qualities in works of art is critical to discerning what the work expresses. The emotions and thoughts evoked by our contemplation of the work should be based upon what can actually be observed. If we say we are saddened by the work or that we experience a sense of tranquillity, we ought to be able to identify the sources in the work for these responses. What we must not succumb to is allowing our predisposition's to bias our reactions. For instance, we may believe that weakness and resignation are associated with old age. When we observe a painting by Van Gogh of an old peasant we assume that he is a frail old man, even though he is painted in very vibrant and forceful and conflicting colors. Weakness and resignation are not associated with these colors, therefore, such a response would be invalid. Biased response do not allow the work to speak for itself.

Making judgments -- all of the foregoing types of responses are necessary prerequisites to making informed judgments about the value of visual phenomena including works of art. Judgments, however, do not exist in isolation; they are relative to a variety of criteria, which also need to be clarified. If one declares that a particular painting is an extraordinary masterpiece, what is the basis for this judgment? Is the work being compared to other works that are similar in style and/or theme? Or, does the work evoke such profound personal reactions that one is moved to call it great?

Making comparative judgments requires that one possess a background that is relative to what is being evaluated. For example, questioning whether a work is an ordinary or an extraordinary example of a particular artistic style requires some acquaintance with other works in the same style. Styles can vary in terms of time and/or place (Song Dynasty ceramic vessels from China), the character of a work's formal organization (baroque forms from various times and places), or the unique approach of a particular artist (Modigliani, for example).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

BINOCULARS

MALAYSIAN CERAMIC ARTIST : Mohd Al-Khuzairie Ali
The artists Binoculars borrow its title from the optical instrument and symbolizes, the artist act looking into the distant future with his eighteen ceramic work, which in turn consist of three discernable series: Reborn,Mind Machine and Xerox.Across the three, forms take on space-age guises as body parts mingle with machine components and human flesh fraternizes with nuts and bolts.And altogether, the humble, ultilitarian medium of ceramic is given a futuristic facelift to represent Khuzairie's observations of socio-cultural changes caused by our ever-increasing dependence on science and technology.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

REALIST PAINTINGS

Realist Paintings by David Kassan As an expression of his own calculated observation and visual consumption of surrounding environment, introspective glimpses of reality imbue the art of David Jon Kassan. By immersing himself into his subject matter, Kassan is able to infuse his painting with life and realism. Kassan’s direction of realism follows the philosophies emplyed by the Ashcan School of American Realists.

Artist Statement

My work is a way of meditation, a way of slowing down time though the careful observation of overlooked slices of my environment. It is the subtlety of emotion in my acquaintances that inhabit the aforementioned environment which intrigues me. My paintings strive for reality, a chance to mimic life in both scale and complexity. The viewer is given an eye level perspective of the subject. A view that is unbiased and in its most raw condition. It is my intent to control the medium of oil paint so that it is not part of the viewer to subject equation. The image stands alone without evidence of the artist. I displace textures from their natural environment by moving them out of the context they exist in. Taking the abstract form from the streets where they get lost and moving them into the gallery space where they can be contemplated as accidental abstractions.
The technical aspect of my work is a means to an end; an end rooted in the viewer's experience. I am interested the concept of a painting's technical and transformative powers. By turning an ordinary painting surface into a textured trompe l'oeil documentation of the city or turning the surface into a life sized representation of a figure in space that transmits feeling this technical process allows for the viewer's experience to be altered.
The thoughts behind my chosen subject matter, the scale at which it is presented, my search for understanding what I observe, and my effort to constantly learn to document reality with a naturalistic, representational painting technique allows for pieces to be inherent contradictions; paintings that are both real and abstract. My influences are understandably just as contradictory as they have fed and connected my perspective on painting. I am constantly seeking out work that is congruent with my own which has led me to explore the work of life size old master paintings, urban stencil and graffiti street art, Marcel Duchamp's found objects, abstract paintings by Robert Rauschenberg, and finally the sheer conceptual and executed realism of Caravaggio.
Time is the most valuable thing that we all have, the one aspect of daily life that we can not get back once its gone. I want to use time while trying to understand the world around me. Painting is my notebook, my sounding board.

Sculpture Artists

Pencil Carving Art By Dalton Getty

What do you see in this picture? Pencils? Look again. They’re sculptures. Dalton Getty has been patiently carving sculptures from pencils for 25 years. He creates amazing miniature pieces of art, including linked hearts, keys, and an alphabet project completed over a steady 2.5 year period. Incredible.Dalton Getty is a 45-year-old resident of Bridgeport who turns ordinary pencils into miniature sculptures, without using a magnifying glass
He works very slowly and does not use any special tools: for he needed only a blade, a sewing needle and a very bright light. To protect their vision, the author works for one and half hours a day. One tiny sculpture may take several months, and one creation may take Dalton 2 and a 1/2 years.Dalton believes that his sculptures are forcing people to stay for at least a few moments to escape from the mad rhythm of modern life and see the beauty in miniature detail.