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  #26  
Old 05-29-2009, 03:17 PM
grommet grommet is offline
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

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What I AM saying, is that a person with heart would not be so hostile to subject, in as much as subject, that being the rest of the universe outside of our little heads, is full of wonder, and an artist is often moved by THAT to depict in via his or her OWN interpretation, and THAT interpretation and the insights conveyed are perhaps just as important, perhaps even more so, perhaps less, as are the aesthetics involved.
So what you are actually saying is that the things inside your little head that cause you to experience rapture are more important than external aesthetics of a piece?
Growing bored with this conversation. Exit to something more fun.
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  #27  
Old 05-29-2009, 03:47 PM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

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Originally Posted by StevenW View Post
I like em both, hell, throw landscapes in too.
here:









The autor ,Bulgarian painter and a close friend of mine , Georgi Penkov , is not with us anymore.....but his art IS. I think just perfect for an "abstract Vs. figurative" thread.
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  #28  
Old 05-29-2009, 04:08 PM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

While technically you are right Glenn, I don't consider landscapes to be part of the larger traditional abstract/figurative body of works whether representational or otherwise and that was why I added it, just for good measure and as a subset. I'll throw in furniture too and have had my appetite for such wetted recently as well.

Oh, and Clive doesn't sound pompous to me, he merely has an opinion and for all I know it might be right. What would be pompous in my mind would be to have that opinion and not remain open to other possibilities.. I didn't get that sense from him in his writings.


Yes, yes Joe, Like it all,.. Grommet and Glenn too.
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  #29  
Old 05-29-2009, 04:19 PM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

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Originally Posted by Portoro View Post
The representative element in a work of art may or may not be harmful; always it is irrelevant.

For, to appreciate a work of art we need bring with us nothing from life - Clive Bell 'Art'
These two lines in particular strike me as being pompous, being such absolutes, and do not sound like they come from a person inclined to accept other possibilities.
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  #30  
Old 05-29-2009, 04:28 PM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

No more pompous than Matt's saying all narrative and whatnot is left behind in the event and "presence" overtaking any other cultural or human considerations..

I think it sounds European to be sure, perhaps even British, but pompous is a stretch to me. Oh,.. And having just seen some of his writings on project Guttenberg, give him a break.. He's writing from the 1890's.. This is probably pretty liberal for formalist stuff from that era..
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  #31  
Old 05-29-2009, 04:37 PM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

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Originally Posted by grommet View Post
So what you are actually saying is that the things inside your little head that cause you to experience rapture are more important than external aesthetics of a piece?
Wrong again, Grommez. Are you reading through a pair of tortise shell distortification glasses?

I will try again, to simplify:

1. Artist is inspired by:
A. Nature
B. The little things in his head
C. Some aspect of the hodge-podge of human nonsense
D. A concept
E. who knows?

2. Artist interprets his undertanding of A, B, C, D, or E.

3. Artist expresses that interpretation through the the employment of his skills

4. Someone else experiences and perhaps appreciates the art.

What I am saying, is that all of these things have their own value. Clive seems to think that #3 and #4 are the only places where value is to be found.

I'm saying that it is not my role to judge the relative value of these things, and furthermore find it snooty to dismiss some of them as irrelevant to art.
And I speak as someone who actually engages in all 4 roles, whereas if I'm not mistaken, Clive Bell only did #4.
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  #32  
Old 05-29-2009, 04:41 PM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

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Originally Posted by StevenW View Post
No more pompous than Matt's saying all narrative and whatnot is left behind in the event and "presence" overtaking any other cultural or human considerations..
Well, I think that perspective is a bit pompous as well, the difference being that I like Matt and also realize that he doesn't take his own verbal musings too seriously. And he doesn't just verbiate, he mainly creates Art, and his thunderous pontifications are just a round of mental R &R as he catches his breath before going back to the daily pound and grind.
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  #33  
Old 05-29-2009, 06:51 PM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

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Originally Posted by GlennT View Post
Wrong again, Grommez. Are you reading through a pair of tortise shell distortification glasses?

I will try again, to simplify:

1. Artist is inspired by:
A. Nature B. The little things in his head C. Some aspect of the hodge-podge of human nonsense D. A concep E. who knows?2. Artist interprets his undertanding of A, B, C, D, or E.
3. Artist expresses that interpretation through the the employment of his skills
4. Someone else experiences and perhaps appreciates the art.

What I am saying, is that all of these things have their own value. Clive seems to think that #3 and #4 are the only places where value is to be found.

I'm saying that it is not my role to judge the relative value of these things, and furthermore find it snooty to dismiss some of them as irrelevant to art.
And I speak as someone who actually engages in all 4 roles, whereas if I'm not mistaken, Clive Bell only did #4.
Gllenrg,
The origininal quotes don't say anything about inspiration at all. They don't necessarily say anything about the creation of art either. Mostly they talk about how to appreciate art and how to distance onself enough to appreciate something new. i.e. leave your 'baggage' at the door, and just breathe.

As to reference to the glasses, I'll take that as a snarky joke.
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  #34  
Old 05-29-2009, 07:04 PM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

Crammitz, I think you are reading Clive like you are reading me; the words are going in your eyeballs but your brain is interpreting them as to what you want to think they are saying.

The quote as presented at the beginning of the thread does not make a distinction about "appreciating " art. It is a blanket statement about art. He is saying in art, aesthetics is everything, and reference to or representation of anything is nothing (or worse).
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  #35  
Old 05-29-2009, 07:07 PM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

Score: 6:4 (note: both contestants were docked 2 points apiece for missed opportunities.)
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  #36  
Old 05-29-2009, 07:50 PM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

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Originally Posted by GlennT View Post
It is a blanket statement about art. He is saying in art, aesthetics is everything, and reference to or representation of anything is nothing (or worse).
Show me any art critic from 100 years ago who didn't make blanket statements about what art is and isn't, there isn't one and if there is he/she was a charlatan in the era. It seems to me that today's ripples of an earlier backlash to such blanket statements are exactly why anything can be called Art now, so long as the "Artist" calls it that or a few people get together and concur that it is "Art" like a few people concured that communism was a good form of government. Since I don't even believe in Art it all seems kind of preposterous to me. Blanket statements are as "valid" as any other kind when dealing with myth..
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  #37  
Old 05-29-2009, 08:50 PM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

Since I'm officially no longer having fun, I'll go with:
Quote:
Blanket statements are as "valid" as any other kind when dealing with myth..
I calls 'em as I sees 'em, without alluding to handicaps on the part of the other participants. Joe, the score is 18 to liver of sulfur with a high of 42, winds to the north with a side of yam fries.
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  #38  
Old 05-29-2009, 09:02 PM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

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Blanket statements are as "valid" as any other kind when dealing with myth..
Well, not really. Behind all these"equally valid statements" are the enforcers of reality, the status quo, acceptable behavior, the norms, tradition, sanity, the Supreme Court, armies, scientists, mystics, certified clergy, elected representatives...people. Those people have shared mental software that is biased toward some kinds of values, opinions,behaviors. Hence, while all statements may be treated in the spirit of inquiry as valid, the consequence of which ones you endorse are serious. So validity is not the real issue. Being a pompous ass is still the issue. There are other issues of course.
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  #39  
Old 05-29-2009, 09:32 PM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

Aw man, I been missing a good one today.

Pompous is all about tone and not content. Its an air of superiority asserted brazenly (when its good). It reinforces whats being proclaimed and is only offensive to those who feel trodden (as opposed to those who trod). I expect some good pompous when I'm reading blather. We sculptors are trodders...so its okay to act as such.

Now then. Abstract vs representational...a wonderful topic. The biggest difference, for me, is that one uses imagery as a tool and the other does not. It is possible to objectify any physical theing AWAY from what it looks like if you're real good. Learn to see Michelangelo as a morpher of stone instead of a renderer of the figure. This achieved ability might well be the end or the "goal" of perception. When the relationship between you and the created matter excludes all else; reduced your universe to just you and it and whatever emptyness there is between the two of you, you have become as fulfilled as possible. This thread has helped me realize with greater clarity that there should be no difference at all between a representational work nd an absrtract one. The created object doesnt label you so you shouldn't label it. And the whole damned thing between you two must get worked out eventually. Its why we keep making another...maybe the next one will be IT.

So keep trodding.
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  #40  
Old 05-30-2009, 02:23 AM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

"For, to appreciate a work of art we need bring with us nothing from life, no knowledge of its ideas and affairs, no familiarity with its emotions."

How are we supposed to view something, relate to it, be moved by it or anything else, if we're not being influenced by our experiences of the world around us? A lady was once moved to tears over one of my sculptures, and it was because of her personal connection with the subject of the work. The model herself was really of no importance, other than she was a female and posed in the way I wanted for this piece. The important part was emotions of the work. Whether abstract or representational, the viewer always looks through the lenses of their life experiences. To disconnect ourselves from what we've experienced, what we know of the world, our prejudices as well as our desires and loves; this seems so foreign to me. As a maker of art, I want people to bring their experiences into the viewing of my work. I want them to see that work through their unique eyes. Every person brings a new perspective to a work of art; a new story, a new feeling, a new appreciation for something unseen.

I understand that he's saying that in order to appreciate art we need not bring these things into that experience, but then what's the point of looking at art, if not to look at it through your eyes, and everything they've experienced?

Alfred
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  #41  
Old 05-30-2009, 07:22 AM
grommet grommet is offline
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

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I understand that he's saying that in order to appreciate art we need not bring these things into that experience, but then what's the point of looking at art, if not to look at it through your eyes, and everything they've experienced?
To expand horizons beyond the border of my own skull or your own skull or their own skull.
I don't think it's a coup to activate someone's old emotions. It is skillfull, yes. How about thinking a new think?
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  #42  
Old 05-30-2009, 08:06 AM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

Careful, Alfred...using a sane human perspective is treading rather close to exposing the emperor's wardrobe.

If the experiences, thoughts, and emotions of the "common" viewer of art were sufficient material for that one to enjoy and appreciate art, where would be the role of the lofty aesthete, ponitifacting from his high tower, telling you what art to look at and how to look at it? And how else to convince you that your instincts are false, and that which you admire is banal, and that which appears as empty is the truly profound, at least for the moment while it is still fresh?
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  #43  
Old 05-30-2009, 08:24 AM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

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Careful, Alfred...using a sane human perspective is treading rather close to exposing the emperor's wardrobe.

If the experiences, thoughts, and emotions of the "common" viewer of art were sufficient material for that one to enjoy and appreciate art, where would be the role of the lofty aesthete, ponitifacting from his high tower, telling you what art to look at and how to look at it? And how else to convince you that your instincts are false, and that which you admire is banal, and that which appears as empty is the truly profound, at least for the moment while it is still fresh?
, he pontificated as he gestured wildly and questioned everyone's sanity who didn't agree with him...
How about we start over and share ideas without calling the other person an ignoramous for having a different view... It cannot be pawned off as joking when used so many times.
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  #44  
Old 05-30-2009, 09:04 AM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

Having another Aunt Millie moment?
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  #45  
Old 05-30-2009, 09:29 AM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

It strikes me that so much of art is reactionary. Bell’s pasted quotes are those of one giving the deathblow to realism, as a reaction. This is a juvenile attitude where the author evidently seeks to destroy the established norms. It is interesting to see the man was in his early 30’s at the time of the publication, so we can surmise he likely started formulating his myopic absolutes in his late 20’s.

Not for nothing, and not to insult any younger artists here, but when I was in my 30’s over ten years ago, I also had more absolutes in my critical eye than I do now at 44. Going back to my 20’s it was pretty much all about anti whatever (pick your stance). In the late 80’s SONIC YOUTH recorded a song that always stuck with me called “Kill your Idols”. It seemed clear to me then, as it does now, that this is an important step in growing up; we idolize or admire someone something, and eventually we tear it down in order to spread our own wings. We do this in a reactionary way at the start, but as we grow we realize we threw out the baby with the bath, and we go back with renewed spirit to those influences, those truisms, and we again see where they were great and inspirational, and then maybe our views go to a place of not so much bravado. Society, politics, our parents, art…

All to say, to take the words of a young man, (who later in life gained a renewed appreciation for realism, BTW) and post it as some kind of gospel or rallying cry in the war for art supremacy is silly. Snippets of quotes from one critic are as useful as anyone’s personal opinion, and they all smell the same.
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  #46  
Old 05-30-2009, 09:30 AM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

The problem with aesthetic formalism (and the ideas of the scribbler Bell), in its idealistic purity, is that it forgets, neglects forsakes, abandons that which brought it about. This might be all well and good as long as the created thing remains a thought, a notion, or an idea...sedentary stuff; but Actuality is irrefutably tied to matter, physicality and action. Therfore the presumption that a created thing can discard or shed its connection to its arriving is fallacious. In fact, the created object POSESSES the action just as much as the action, or event posesses the object. And the posessor of the consciousness (the Artist) that processed the event, mixed it with the matter, is the boss, the bookkeeper, the slave and the negotiator.

Last edited by evaldart : 05-30-2009 at 01:20 PM.
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  #47  
Old 05-30-2009, 12:43 PM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

What I read is that people should have the ability to suspend what they KNOW for a moment to receive something new, which may or may not change the way you see/ think things. You don't have to sell your history, just send it out for coffee. You can do without your security blanket for that long, can't you?

Willpaq- do you end up at the exact same place, or have there been refinements, insights that change some things? Don't throw out potential because you believe yourself 'finished' at 44. If there is nothing to learn...
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  #48  
Old 05-30-2009, 01:26 PM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

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Willpaq- do you end up at the exact same place, or have there been refinements, insights that change some things? Don't throw out potential because you believe yourself 'finished' at 44. If there is nothing to learn...
I must not have elucidated my point too well. At 44, the one thing I am certain of is that I know less than I expected I would know now, when I was younger. While I am more certain of my likes and dislikes, I am less certain that my opinion is worth the breath I expel to shout it.

I am a student of the figure. When I was in my 20ís I thought I would master the form in ten years. When I was in my 30ís I was frustrated because I realized the subtleties of the form were unending, and that I would never master the form. By the time I reached 40, with the realization that my quest for perfection was one which I would never satiate, I learned to accept that, while at the same time always striving to beat the monster. In the same way many years ago I would look back on work done early in my life as a sculptor, and want to literally throw it in the garbage out of embarrassment, I today look at the work with understanding that it was the best I could achieve at the time of creation, and although I might wish it were better, I am comfortable with it.

There is always more to learn, and were there not, I would find another vocation. Without exploration and reaching beyond what is possible today, what the hell is the point to even breathing? What I tried to say in my previous post was that Bell was speaking the absolutes of a narrow eye, which is usually reserved for the young. It is a bravado that comes from confidence and immaturity, and he was simply reacting against the grain, like underground writers from the 50's and punk from the late 70's. All have their place and merits, but none are the sum of the argument.
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  #49  
Old 05-30-2009, 01:32 PM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

I was just checking in regard to your personal bravado, the simplifications made in the interest of making a clear point... much like Clive Bell.
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  #50  
Old 05-30-2009, 01:36 PM
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Re: So, who needs figurative?

That's not what he was doing. He was advocating for abstract and against traditionalism. I am not arguing the reverse.
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