Saturday, 30 April 2011

What is this thing called Art?

The Universe according to Art is a turbulent episode of cause and effect. No movement lives in isolation but is a reaction to something.

But art isn’t this a dated term? Does it hold any meaning today?

I believe it does, and that it isn’t. With a world that’s increasingly fast paced and visually driven we are surrounded by art more than we ever have been. With new innovation and technology, new platforms have been made whether this be the discovery of deep blue pigment in 1590; the invention of photography in 1826 of the creation of Photoshop in 1988. All have had a tremendous impact on art, and because of these new innovations the definition is constantly changing and seems to have no ownership at all; as it’s completely different from person to person.

Conventionally you may say that art is a sculpture, painting, piece of textiles, fashion, print making etc; but that seems to be only scratching the surface. What art is to me is something deeper than that.  I always think of a Douglas Addams quote when I attempt to find a definition - Which I’m sure many people do - I’m almost certain that a fixed definition wont be achieved, not one that everyone will agree with anyway,but it won’t stop me. The quote is "Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space”. It might seem completely irrelevant but allow me to explain. Person A wants to be an artist, a painter to be more precise. Peron A goes to school and learns how to paint (The walk to the chemist), but person A also has a fascination with the subject. A great imagination and an innovative style that tries to speak to the audience beyond the physical application of paint (Space).

(And if this is the universe according to art we might as well carry on with the interstellar theme)

Art as one continuous development has been evolving, as it still is for thousands of years. Let’s start with our good friend JMW Turner (1775-1851). Since his work we have seen; impressionism, post Impressionism, Neo-Impressionism, Cloisonnism, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Fauvism, Cubism, Orphism, Futurism, Synchromism, Expressionism, Vorticism, De Stijl, Supermatism, Dadaism, Surealism, Abstract Impressionism, Post-painterly abstraction, Colour Field Painting, Tachism, lyrical Abstraction, Installation art, Sound Art, land Art, Maximalism, Minimalism, Post-Minimalism, Geometric Abstraction, Hard-Edge painting, Neo-Expressionism, Pop art, Photorealism, Conceptual Art, Neo-Geo, Superstroke, Superflat, Stuckism, Performance art, Streen art and Intervention art.

So what are we in today? Officially it’s not definable until it’s in the past. Upon the invention of photography Paul Delaroche stated that “From Today Painting is Dead”. Yet it that occurred way before any of these movements then isn’t there an indication of how art behaves, or misbehaves you could argue.

Most art movements are met with criticism, the impressionists were definitely no exception and yet today they are held up as masters. I feel that today’s mass criticism of Modern Abstract work (not to be confused with modernism) will one day be seen fairly strange as art evolves into something else. I personally love the 'abstract' and will rant about contemporary works as well as historical ones.

Today we are almost visually drowned, with advertisement everywhere, books, film, television we are an incredibly visually society. This I think is great and does mean that our relationship with it has changed. Our culture is especially visual today were so used to imagery that graphic designers now focus on getting impressions across as quickly as possible and remaining as memorable as possible, which contrast slightly to the print makers of the 1800’s who revealed in creating chaotic scenes in which people would want to spend time unravelling. What I’m trying to say is I think to explore art you need to have an open mind, much like you would if you were trying to contemplate space. It’s so vast and expansive yet at the same time incredibly unknown. If art is such a personal mission then how will we ever truly understand it?

In this blog I will now explore movements and masters, sketches and strange rarely heard of pieces and artists. In fact why don’t I call it The Universe according to Art?


Friday, 29 April 2011


A small word with a big effect. I know people who like me love everything art; others that have specific likings and some that despise the stuff. I believe all are valid positions, though if you’re the latter beware you may be converted.
There is the physical art like the paintings and the sculptures, the fashion the textiles the print making the photography (it’s endless); but there is also Art the concept. What made someone 75,000 years ago scratch an abstract geometric pattern on a rock? Possibly boredom, it could be the world’s first doodle after all. But isn’t doodling an art form? But what it represents is someone designing something. That is what fascinates me.