Monday, January 21, 2008

Works of Art

After this weekend, I’ve been thinking about art, and the levels by which it becomes more difficult. Here are my rough draft thoughts:

Art is work. Have you ever thought of that? One of my favorite words for the product of art is wrought. defines it as (among other things):
3. elaborated; embellished.
5. produced or shaped by beating with a hammer, as iron or silver articles.

Writing tends to be the most vague. Composition can be creative, poetic, skilled and beautiful. But it always relies on the reader’s imagination and experience to get a mental image of the suggested idea.

Painting or drawing is a two-dimensional representation of an idea. The observer has no freedom to add to what is given, but the artist must put more definite thought into his work. He must take the risk of his specific expression being rejected.

Sculpture, set design, home decorating, costuming – these are three-dimensional, still manifestations of an idea. I crave this sometimes. I will be inspired with an arrangement, or want to imitate a form – a shape that is not quite expressible in a drawing. A room may be visited. As a connoisseur of art, I want to tour locations of beauty or meaning, not just read about them or look at postcard-pictures.

These last two art forms get more complicated. There is more work involved in their creation, and less control. There is risk not only that the concrete vision may be rejected, but that it may be marred. On the other hand, our visions can benefit from the dye and sculpting of human interaction.

A moment may be crafted. The idea that comes to mind is when a man proposes. Or it could be like a party. Last night I was at a Christmas party – yes, in January – where the hostess had engaged in three dimensional art (her clothing and hair, and the table setting) which contributed to the moment she created when she made a speech (really a toast without glasses). She designed a moment to make us feel special. We lived through gifts, smiles, and words that communicated emotion, atmosphere, ideas.

Life is a work of art. Fundamentally a life is God’s work. Paul tells us as much in Ephesians 2:10. To different extents friends and parents are artists shaping moments for others, which in combination shapes the friends and children. Those who are molded in this way go on to make a series of decisions, to have a sequence of experiences that come together to make a life. Here we have relationships, characters, feelings and thoughts, intentions – and failures.

2 Corinthians 3:2-3 - "Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart."

To God be all glory.


Anonymous said...

What about Music? =(

I like what you've said, but no music examples?
and btw, who says the observer has no freedom to add to what is given, when it comes to a painting or drawing?

No more so than with writing.
A piece of writing suggests, however vaguely, the artist's intended idea, as does a piece of visual art.

It seems to me that there is just as much room for personal participation with the "suggested IDEA" in either form of art.

Perhaps the observer has no freedom to add to what is given on a visual level, when observing a visual art, but the same general rule applies to writing as well. The reader is no more free to add words to the words he reads, than the observer is to add colors or images to the image the artist has "given".

So with what you have said you seem to be comparing two separate things, in a manner that does not fairly coincide.

*shrug* I'm sorry to seem so critical, but as I said before I like your conclusion, I like what you say, but the discontinuity in the parallel struck me as a bit odd.

Do I misunderstand you? I don't know.

Uncertainty aside, thank you for sharing, truly a blessing

Peace, and Thanks, and God Bless,

Lisa of Longbourn said...

Music might go under the "moments" category, because it is by nature sequential. It draws emotion with it.

In saying that words are less specific than a painting or other visual art, I am pretty stubbornly behind that idea. Tolkien first brought it up to me. If he wrote "a tree," then the reader could image-ine their ideal tree for that description. But if he painted that tree which he had in mind, then one could say, "Oh, I had the leaves all different." So maybe I should have said "suggested image." That's what I meant.

Thanks for the comments!
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn