Just as the world seems to be becoming ever more mediocre with every passing year, the population of the so-called ‘creative persons’ seems to be exploding! Yes, almost every person is either dubbed creative or claims him or herself to be creative.
Admittedly, it does not take much to create either empty superlatives or immodesty.
We shall leave aside the subject of ‘creative’ writers, poets, musicians etc for other fora and stick to the subject of ‘art’ of the sort that is created on a canvas – viz painting, sketch, drawing or illustration.
It should please the pessimists among us that the ‘expansion of the envelop of art to include almost everything’ is not a phenomenon of this decade. It had started centuries ago and is bound to persist till the end of life on this planet. Fret; or learn to live with if, if not learning the ability to appreciate it.
But appreciate what? Even the food spilled by a child on to his clothes forms at least some form. Would that – however unintentional – be called art?
If not, then what all can be called art? Moreover, if there really is a definition of art, then what is this entity called abstract art all about? Doesn’t the latter thrive on the destruction of the very structure of a definite identity of ‘art’?
They say that when used in an artistic sense, the term “painting” means the use of this activity in combination with drawing, composition and other aesthetic considerations in order to manifest the expressive and conceptual intention of the practitioner.
Wow! Such a all-encompassing definition, with so many layers to it. But what does it mean anyway? Because, honestly speaking, it sounds a bit abstract!
But if the definition of the ‘regular’ art sounds abstract, then what does the explanation of abstract art sound like?
Well, abstract art is now generally understood to mean “art that does not depict objects in the natural world, but instead uses color and form in a non-representational way”.
Alright then, one thing is clear – definitions are not going to take us anywhere. For, with due respect to the creators of the definitions and the ‘artists’ who subscribe to them, the explanation reflect a generous dose of self-indulgence. The definitions seem a deliberate attempt to stop the common man on streets from understanding them. An attempt to keep the ‘gift of art’ and its understanding within a close-knit group.
Or maybe not. Maybe those definitions are only for ‘official records’. And the real essence of art is to be experienced.
Yes, that ought to the method – allowing yourself the time to imbibe (whatever the nature of the so-called) piece of art (painting) into the sub-conscious and to allow that art the time to grow on to you.
Sounds symbiotic; and that’s what it is. Art in isolation is nothing. It is always about the reaction of humans to it. And with reaction we mean all of the following: attraction, repulsion and indifference. The greater the art has to offer (including disgust), the greater would be the import by humans. And it is this greater import and its resultant scrutiny and dissection that sets some art from the other. That makes us call something art, while failing the other in that test. So then, ‘the dot on the canvas’ at the top right is also art. How good it is; you decide.