What is Art?

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Wikepedia.com defines art as “the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions.” There is, of course, more to this definition and it goes on to expound upon the history and theories of art and aesthetics. All ideas we will explore later. Right now, I want to discuss art in a broader, yet more personal sense.

In college, I do not recall being given a finite, precise definition of the word. I was also never taught a prescribed set of rules, limits, or techniques; only told to experiment, then experiment more. I had one professor, who wrote the following on a wall to refute the idea that there were specific techniques and definitions that were right or wrong in the world of art.

Art is not a recipe

a formula

or a list of steps

It is neither a supernatural power or magic

If you must, you could consider it divine interaction,

For it is simply nothing more than human nature.

I tend to agree with this professor. My personal feeling is that this is because art is infinite. While it is easily defined among the visual stimuli around, it can also be found throughout the profound workings of creation and within each of us. Art should not be made up solely of a set of rules and confines. It should be free. Free to grow, breath, and live. Edward Murphy writes that:

Art is alive.

It breathes the breath of a glance,

It feeds on a stare,

And it lives on forever in remembrance.

I believe that we should allow art to be alive and free, both within us and expressed in the world. It should be about more than what is visible, but also what is not seen, but felt, thought, and implied. It should be infused with feeling, emotion, and meaning. It takes form in music, two-dimensional works like paintings, three-dimensional works like sculpture, and in written and oral works. It even exists, trapped within our minds, in our imaginations. The challenge is to set it free.


Source by Michelle Miller Murphy

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