Saturday, September 11, 2010

Blast From The Past

I had old slides of my work from my years in Graduate study at Parsons made digital. It is so odd looking back on this work. Sometimes I wonder if I even ever made it.


The aim or rather purpose of art and why it is what creative individuals do is always at the top of my list of things to dredge up. It is a really old question and is only questioned because as far as can be discerned on the surface of things, art does not immediately serve any particular need; it is rather useless in a utilitarian driven culture. The irony in this is that as more Americans seek modes of comfort and a technology that is created to make life the simpler, the more Americans invest in the devices of a useless nature and alienate themselves from the needs of one another.
Certainly one of the reasons why artists make art resides in, a need to relive through the fabrication of images and objects a moment in their life that they wish to re-experience or in some cases put to death. These hope filled pursuits drive the creative individual to create, but in the summation of their action, produces hopeless results. Glimmers of the glorious (or dreaded) thing or moment might be revealed in the created art, but it will never equal the impact of the actual thing or moment. Thus the catalyst for constant investigation and persistence in the artists practice.
As far as there being an aim/purpose to the art, many have their beliefs and philosophies as to what this answer is and many of the answers come in the form of a verb. At the moment I remain set on an answer to the question that would appear to blanket all other given answers. My answer is derived from a quote that I stumbled upon by (I believe it to have been from) Chardin. Chardin claimed that “the chief end goal for a work of art must be that it be a visual feast for the eye; all other reason follows after this”. These words would seem to emphasize that the aim of art should simply be to provide beauty.
The word beauty has lost some luster over time and while there might exist some conflict over what is beauty?-what is beautiful? Very few of us would argue that we prefer beauty over the drab. Beauty has attached to it a good deal of skepticism and sarcasm when we talk about it in relation to a work of art. The belief that art is made only in times where there is a deficiency of beauty is false and ridiculous. Art will serve its purpose as long as people seek to find escape from reality and put faith in silent pictures and forms. All of this would see to welcome the idea that people like to project their thoughts and ideas upon things that are defenseless and chameleon-like; a thing that exists where we as the determined viewer, have the ability to deem the formidable thing beautiful. Twisted but true.

*Top image: "The Ray" by Chardin
*Bottom image: Photograph of Franz West romancing an object