“How do we see works of art? What is beauty in art? Is beauty even attainable or worth striving for? What should art be? Questions worth pondering yet possibly as unanswerable as the proverbial ‘What is Art?” *
How do I see works of Art? What is beauty in art? I see art as a visual means to an open conversation or a profound statement that leads to, first, a visual arousal, then an intellectual provocation and, if really compelling, it can even trigger an emotional climax. Examples that come to mind: Song of the Coast by Jeff Faust, Bond of Union by M.C Escher and Nurturing Earth Mother by Frida Kahlo.
Sometimes art can also evoke a religious experience as it has the power to connect the viewer with the sacred and the divine. Tulips & Apples by Sandra (Kiki) Thome and my, The Ultimate Sacrifice, fall within this category. However, I seldom find art of such caliber that it leaves an indelible impression. That brings me to the second part of the question. When art is experienced in a way that the viewer is changed forever, that is beauty in art.
Is beauty even attainable or worth striving for?Absolutely! Time and again I’ve seen paintings that have left me in a total state of awe, even moved me to create poetry, from experiencing the magic, the romance, and the awesomeness possible on a two dimensional surface.
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What should Art be? Impact is what art should be, period. An invitation to an open conversation that engages the viewer, an educational experience that can be a delight to the eyes, a means of provoking, arousing, stimulating, and challenging the intellect. Guernica by Pablo Picasso is a prime example insomuch that, despite the context being most horrific and ugly, it leaves the viewer to experience the horrors of war in a most beautiful and profound way. I remember well when I first saw it and how it changed me as a person forever. Picasso is not my favorite artist (he’s not even on my list of top ten), however, I hear his message loud and clear and I experience the ugliness and horrors of war, the way he saw them, without witnessing them firsthand. That is his genius. That is art.