is not just a man's name!
During college, Ed Versluis would say, "Art
is an experience in itself." Versluis filled his class with
abstract ideas and critical thinking. It was obvious his teaching
flew over our heads when "C" turned out to be the common grade
in class. Versluis' statement about art has perplexed me for
years. I studied art and own a gallery. I know what art is,
I even think I know what good art is. But what is with this
The American Heritage Dictionary says art is
a creative or imaginative activity, especially the expressive
arrangement of elements within a medium. This definition is
straightforward and understandable. Then why has there ever
been a debate?
One historical quote says, "Art is craft transcended."
Transcend means to go beyond, to exceed. Humans create art,
display art, enjoy and value art. Therefore, art is only a human
experience. Yes, it's true that art can be made by nature. But
have you ever seen two animals contemplating over art? "Hey
there Rocky, How much coffee do you think it took Mother Nature
to create this masterpiece?"
Steve Frazier, the preparator and registrar of
the Schnieder Museum of Art in Ashland, Ore., says, "Art is
hard work. It is a journey through the process and must have
an end result." He explains that art is an essence -- the excitement
from the initial concept to when and if it bears fruit. "A good
artist needs to let go in the process," declares Frazier.
Good art should evoke an emotion while conveying
a message from the artist. Whether you love it or despise it,
it has effected you. If it hasn't left an impression it has
not done its job. Frazier says, "The same piece over time should
change as your values change." If you identify with a drawing
because it reminds you of your childhood and you come back to
that drawing years later, it may not have the same effect because
you have changed. Each person's experience of that same drawing
is a unique and individual experience.
Recently, my photography gallery in Ashland displayed
paintings for the first time. Ahly Mueller paints spontaneously
using bright reds, oranges and greens. Her subjects are demonic
and alien-like. I love the colors and the characters. The work
is from the genre of the 1980s and 90s. I grew up in the 80s
and 90s. I could identify. But a women walked in, a pastor's
wife, with a very different viewpoint. Her opinion was that
the artist was sick, especially when she read the title: "Jesus
loves you, you arrogant little shit."
Everyone has their own opinion.