Friday, May 14, 2010

Ruminations About Art And It's Context
Like everyone else out here in cyberspace, I follow blogs in my areas of interest and recently, I started commenting on some of them.  Just a couple, sort of like putting your toe in that cold water for your first swim of the year outside!

It's interesting to be part of a comment stream if you're not all that used to it... can end up being a small part of a discussion that is riveting because it's something that speaks to you on a personal level... Unfortunately, since it's someone else's forum, you are really free to explore the line of thought deeply, the discussion is soon over... 

This is where having your own blog can really come in handy!

On Edward Winkleman's recent blog on 'You can't take it with you, so it's about what you leave' I enjoyed the comment stream so I made the following comment:

"Continuing in the vein of thought presented, I'm going to express something I firmly believe in as an artist is that artist's express based on their personal context in their culture and generation.
Which means in my eyes that an artist is being a conduit of expression for that period of time in their own way...
Whether they do that successfully or not, suceeding generations can often figure it out through hindsight, but at the very least making the effort in the first place is valuable.
I'm thinking the context of a piece of art with reference to the artist and their life on a personal level and the context of their times could greatly enhance the experience of the audience for that artwork."

I'd like to expand on the thought I expressed with this blogpost, since it's something I'm interested in on a personal level!

What I was talking about with regards to artwork when I mean context is basically what surrounds the artist at the point in time the art piece was created... 

IE:  It can be general things like their location (North America, Canada, Europe...); gender (obvious but can have a major effect); or less general factors such as their personal history which will affect what cultural groups that they belong to and the language of their personality.

For instance, I'm female, live in Canada, and my personal history includes things like divorce (mine), parenthood and a non-traditional career..

This can affect the 'language' of my artwork in many ways. instance, as a female in a general, cultural context I have an interest in independence and growth of a distinct identity. This is very common among women of my age group in North America as we've basically come into our own in recent decades.  This general message and context is expressed well in 'Emergence'... 
The personal context of that piece is also that I was recently separated and just starting the process of divorcing when I painted the picture and I was truly finding my way as a separate person from my previous life!

Now it might represent something else for other people viewing the piece, but it can have the added dimension of my context as well as theirs depending on what the mood of the audience at that point in time.  Usually what happens is the viewer experiences the painting within their own context and reacts to it on that level...  What I'm thinking is that knowing the artist's context could enrich the piece for the audience in a very real way and give a richer experience.'s do it again...

'The Spirit of the Wolf' relates to general feelings of the symbology of the wolf in our culture and how it can be used to express the feeling of being free and unfettered.  One interpretation, anyway.  This is just an example, I'm not really trying too hard on the general interpretation here, just using what I come up with off the cuff for illustration purposes...

In the personal context of me, the artist, the painting is about freedom (again!) within the context of emerging into a more independent identity through divorce, etc,  but, it also heavily relates to the fact that my great grandmother was a Cree Indian in Manitoba and you can see the animal spirit guide roots in this piece in particular.

Images by Teresa Young:
1. Painted Window - May 2010,  2. Unnamed Abstract - Dec.09,  3. Salmon Arm - Sep.96 (photo),  4. Prospect Cove - Mar.2010 (photo),  5. Emergence - Sep.98,  6. Spirit of the Wolf - Jun.01.
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Darlene said...

Great post T. I hope the book you two are working on is a great experience for you. I did enjoy reading it.

Dalifan said...

Hi Dar,

Thanks! I assume you mean reading the post;-) Wouldn't it be great to have some sort of time travel where we could read a book before it's written? LOL!