Sunday, March 05, 2006

a question for you

what is art? what makes something art? what makes it a piece of art?

i've been talking to a couple people about this lately, it's been bouncing about in my brain of late. it had neatly hidden itself for a couple days, but leapt out of whatever nook or cranny it was in and into the forefront of my mind again today while i was looking at the work on our walls.

art is very important to me.

it always has been.

one of the most memorable presents i have ever received was a present from my mother. it was a print, it was something that no one else i knew had, it was a piece of original art. i was 14 at the time (i think, i could be off on the year, it was a birthday present from when i was a kid, i'm not positive on the specific year).

that print is on my wall to this day.

i'm going to just talk about 'fine arts' right now, because i have a whole other series of things to say about music and, of course, theatre - but i don't want to bore you all to death by putting it in one post, so for right now i am focusing just on 'fine arts'.

i found myself asking what constitutes art. does it have to be saying something? does it have to evoke a reaction? does it have to convey meaning? how do you determine if it conveys meaning?

i ask because as i sat staring at the art on my walls i realised very few of the pieces conveyed some specific meaning to me. in fact, many - if not most - of them are pretty, pleasing to my eye, but nothing more. but someone worked on these. someone spent time and energy creating them. did they want me to see more?

if i push it i can, i can interpret it, i can examine it, i can dissect it, i can do all that stuff that going to school for theatre taught me to do with anything, but is that the point?

okay. that's not a fair statement. sometimes i feel like if the reaction isn't immediate and visceral then it isn't *real*, but then sometimes i think the initial reaction isn't real and it's only valid when you're examined your thoughts, dissected and picked apart your reaction.

what we're learning from this post is that if i can't find a clear cut logical answer to something (which really is often my favourite, because, well, despite what you might think, i'm a logical kind of gal) i can't get the question out of my head and it keeps bouncing around, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. it's a bit exhausting, but i guess it's exhilarating at the same time.

but just think how easy it would be if there was a universally accepted definition for 'what is art' or 'what makes art', in the same way there is a definition for, say, 'cat' (A small carnivorous mammal (Felis catus or F. domesticus) domesticated since early times as a catcher of rats and mice and as a pet and existing in several distinctive breeds and varieties.)

i'm just sayin' is all...

***NOTE*** sorry if this entry is a bit scattered, i'm writing it while watching the oscars and thinking about how much i should be going to bed. (what can i say, i'm a multi-tasker...)

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