Can art be worth addressing without meaning? Must “good” art convey the zeitgeist of the times by which it had been created? Does “depth of meaning” correlate right to “goodness” of art?
A definition of terms here could be of value however the terms under consideration are very centered on individual and subjective opinion that the defintions could be questioned.
Abstract painting, particularly the nonobjective painting of several artists since the 1940s is arguably without meaning. Actually many artists are interested that way. They choose to see purely compositional factors, the tenets of design while the way of measuring their works. Does this relegate them to the level of design, not truly “high art.”
Abstract paintings can perform two things. 1) They can ascend to the highest level of design, and 2) they may transcend it to “high art.” In the same way Kurt Schwitters paper snips transcend the craft of hobbyists cutting paper, and Joseph Cornell’s boxes transcend the craft of cabinet makers or box designers – so can an abstract paintings transcend design.
The criteria of meaning needs some discussion in my opinion. The “meanings” that some narrow-sighted critics reference as being the paramount criterion of “high art” revolve around historic, philosophic, and religious dimensions. These meanings purportedly reflect the highest ideals and aspirations of man and god(God?).
I appreciate meanings around the next person. I like the classical, epic struggles of mythology, the ancient renditions of the history of the world, the religious icons of each century, the struggles of mankind and every individual in mankind abstract photographers. They’re wonderful meanings and certainly worth artistic depiction.
Now consider this is of a man/woman who struggles to create pure beauty. The artist. The artist who wants to create not merely “high art” but does so minus the tools of religious thought, minus the maps of cultural revolutions, minus the applause of the best and socially motivated political movement, minus the traditions of a craftsmens guild. Consider this courageous individual.
These individuals not merely attempt real, although only mortal, creation at its highest level – they do this in a unique and hardwon individual style. In addition, their work is supposed to free, enhance and amplify your perception of art and beauty in all its mysterious manifestations.
That “is” meaning. You can witness this meaning in its visual record of each abstract painting. No, not every painting is just a masterpiece – and it can’t fall back on cliche’or a social nomenclature. It stands as a testament to a real struggle to push something to the highest level of art without help from all the other “manifold meaning packages” that have been the explanation for art in previous centuries.Oct 01, 2020 Arts Read More