What is ART?

In the mind.

Art is in the mind’s eye and can be whatever your imagination will allow it to be.

Its a drop of rain ricocheting from a tarmac canvas and exploding into oblivion as it gathers momentum and careers down the gutter in a shimmering sea of crystal clear raindrops.

Its a lonely pedestrian wandering down an empty unlit street with the moonlight on their back, silhouetting them against a background of statuesque buildings that expose their secrets within through brightly lit windows. The cracks in the shutters of hidden rooms where the inhabitants go about their mundane lives in secret, unaware and oblivious to what might lay ahead. While outside and below, the discards of man blow in every direction and rodents hug the curbs as they scurry among the waste sniffing the breeze in order to search out a meal to take back to their secret nests and feed their expectant young.

Its the first look between a newborn and its mother in the realization of who they are, just after the moment the child was thrust into daylight by a deliberate forceful push to guiding hands that have pulled them from the safety and fluid warmth of the womb to the comfort of the breast.

The exhausted weeping mother propped upon the bed, anxious and excited at the thought of her first real connection with a child she will love forever. Its the curve of the engorged breast with hard inviting nipples, dripping slightly as the child is placed before it, as it’s mothers instinct is automatic in her release of life-giving sustenance, the newborn unsure and yet ready to accept its bounty through swollen nipples that weep in readiness despite the mothers previous discomfort, trauma and agony as the child prepares to suckle at the breast for the first time.

Its the rush of the waves before they explode upon on the shore, undulating in a never-ending cycle of power and ferocity before retreating back to the sea to return yet again.

Its the slightest glimpse of a distant image in the corner your eye. It’s whatever and where ever you want it. Nothing is what it seems and everything is what it is and will be.

By definition:

Art

refers to a diverse range of human activities and artefacts and may be used to cover all or any of the arts, including music, literature and other forms. It is most often used to refer specifically to the visual arts, including mediums such as painting, sculpture, and printmaking. Aesthetics is
the branch of philosophy which considers art.

Visual art is defined as the arrangement of colours, forms, or other elements " in a manner that affects the sense of beauty, specifically the production of the beautiful in a graphic or plastic medium&quot. The nature of art has been described by Richard Wollheim as " one of the most elusive of the traditional problems of human culture. It has been defined as a vehicle for the expression or communication of emotions and ideas, a means for exploring and appreciating formal elements for their own sake, and as mimesis or representation. Leo Tolstoy identified art as a use of indirect means to communicate with one person to another. Benedetto Croce and R.G. Collingwood advanced the idealist view that art expresses emotions and that the work of art therefore essentially exists in the mind of the creator. Art as a form has its roots in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and was developed in the early twentieth century by Roger Fry and Clive Bell. Art as mimesis or representation has deep roots in the philosophy of Aristotle.

Traditionally the term art was used to refer to any skill or mastery, a concept which altered during the Romantic period when art came to be seen as " a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and science.

Generally art is a (product of) human activity, made with the intention of stimulating the human senses as well as the human mind; by transmitting emotions and/or ideas. Beyond this description, there is no generally agreed-upon definition of art, since defining the boundaries of "art" is subjective, but the impetus for art is often called human creativity.

The evaluation of art has become especially problematic since the 20th century. Wollheim distinguishes three approaches: the Realist, whereby aesthetic quality is an absolute value independent of any human view, the Objectivist, whereby it is also an absolute value, but is dependent on general human experience, and the Relativist position, whereby it is not an absolute value, but depends on, and varies with, the human experience of different humans

An object may be characterized by the intentions, or lack thereof, of its creator, regardless of its apparent purpose. A cup, which ostensibly can be used as a container, may be considered art if, intended solely as an ornament, while a painting may be deemed craft if mass-produced.

Wik – Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaand is intended for general reference purposes only.

Excerpt from The Guardian,

Monday, November 25, 2002, by Jeanette Winterson

Art is a different value system. Like God, it fails us continually. Like God, we have legitimate doubts about its existence but, like God, art leaves us with footprints of beauty. We sense there is more to life than the material world can provide, and art is a clue, an intimation, at its best, a transformation. We don’t need to believe in it, but we can experience it. The experience suggests that the monolith of corporate culture is only a partial reality. This is important information, and art provides it.

Centre Bouddhiste de l’Ile de France 2004

Art is the organisation of sense impressions [into pleasurable formal relations] that expresses the artist’s sensibility and communicates to his audience a sense of values that can transform their lives.

centre Boudiste paris

Definition from the Oxford dictionary

Art,
Human creative skills or its application; branch of creative activity concerned with production of imitative and imaginative designs and expressions of ideas, in painting; esp products of activity; any skill contrasted with scientific technique or principle; craft or activity requiring imaginative skill (in pl) branches of learning (esp languages, literature, and history) associated with imaginative and creative skill as distinct from technical skills of science; specific ability, knack, cunning artfulness; trick, stratagem.

University of British Columbia

Any brief definition of art would oversimplify the matter, but we can say that all the definitions offered over the centuries include some notion of human agency, whether through manual skills (as in the art of sailing or painting or photography), intellectual manipulation (as in the art of politics), or public or personal expression (as in the art of conversation). Recall that the word is etymologically related to artificial — i.e., produced by human beings. Since this embraces many types of production that are not conventionally deemed to be art, perhaps a better term for them would be visual culture. This would explain why certain pre-industrial cultures produce objects which Eurocentric interests characterize as art, even though the producing culture has no linguistic term to differentiate these objects from utilitarian artefacts. Having said that, we are still left with a class of objects, ideas and activities that are held to be separate or special in some way. Even those things which become art even though they are not altered in any material way — e.g., readymades — are accorded some special status in a describable way. Because of this complexity,
writers have developed a variety of ways to characterize the art impulse.

The University of British Columbia

Art on the emotions.

What effect does art have on the emotions?

A work of art can depict many things, document many historical events, tell many stories, and in a lot of cases shed light or provide us with a fleeting glimpse into the lives of the artists themselves. How much passion, guilt, or betrayal is there depicted throughout history in the art world, for example, many of the greats were known or believed to have used their lovers or mistresses as muses in their works. It has often been suggested that Flora, one of Titian’s more poetic images of a young provocative looking women, was, in fact, his mistress Cecilia, whom he finally married in 1525.
Pablo Picasso was renowned for taking his muses as lovers as is evident in a lot of his work.
So when we view a work of art are we briefly being invited to form our own opinion or cast our own judgment not only on the piece but on the artist themselves.

Titians muse Cecilia.

Titian’s Flora c.1515-1520

Is the artist inviting us to view them as more than just artists, perhaps they are desperate to be seen as people, with emotions and desires with pent up frustrations or hidden agendas that can only be expressed and released through their work,
as art, after all, is a form of expression, a way of venting our feelings, sharing our emotions or possibly even confessing what was not at first obvious, and capturing them for everyone to share. With art, there is always a thought process where an idea is conceived, and then a design process where we decide how to best express our initial thoughts, feelings or emotions. It is a psychological outlet that provides both spiritual relief and satisfaction and invokes emotion in its purest form.
So when an artist creates a piece, are they really laying themselves bare to our approval, or are they just giving us a brief glimpse through a window into their soul, letting us know how they feel, confessing their innermost thoughts or fears through their work, regardless of what we might think.

Some, so-called great works of art look as if a child was fed caffeine and sweets all day and then let loose with a packet of crayons or gallons of paint. It leaves you questioning the piece and wondering whatever was going on in the mind of the artists when they created it, what madness could have invoked such chaos and how can this be taken seriously as art? While others leave you feeling mesmerized and astounded by their beauty and composition, inviting you into a world of make believe where fantasy appears to be reality and, for a brief moment in time you are lost in the artist’s world.

Art excites our minds and teases our emotions. Some works can leave you with a feeling of emptiness, sorrow or remorse, while others excite the senses and dare you to look deeper into the piece and imagine what madness, power, passion or desire inspired such an arousing piece of art. What is it that a work of art has that it can lift you to a higher plain, warming the soul and fueling a passion buried deep within?