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Wyndham

Where Does Clay Stand In Fine Art

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drmyrtle    51

 

 

I don't think humans need art to survive, but rather art is a product of human survival.  Like talking or moving.

 

But humans fare very poorly without communication. By extension I would argue that humans have never been without art, and do need art to survive. Otherwise anthropologists would find cultures who have thrived without art, and I don't know of any that have existed. (I'm open to learn of examples if you have them.) Heck, they are even putting art into space craft to expand the potential ways to communicate with extraterrestrials.

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Patsu    17

I think drmyrtle is hitting on this concept and has studied it, I'm working from philosophy & introspection but want to chime in.


 


Arguably, it could be said that self-aware individuals capable of memory, experience existance as the 'observation' of a linear stream of sensory information that is interpreted in near realtime as well as stored and assessed in conjunction with their approximated recollections of past experiences, all of this filtered by value systems at every level. 


 


This assessment process inevitably leads to non-real thought constructs and lateral thought relationships.  It is a gravely inaccurate process, and if it were not relatively constant during consciousness, this flawed process would probably not work very effectively as an overall awareness-survival mechanism.  


 


As the constant and consistant state of being-in-the-world however, it does work for most - though with nearly 10% of the population in prison and more that ought to be, there are those for whom it does not work so well.  


 


Perhaps if it were an accurate process for our species, then there would be no art.  


 


Perhaps it is accurate for other species, therefore they do not experience art.  


 


I think what we're all hitting on is that, art may be a byproduct of the 'fuzzy logic' of the mind.  


 


At this point in my considering your question Tyler, of the two choices you present I would concur that art as defined in this context would be categorically necessary, though there would likely be individuals out there with states of mind that do not generate 'art experiences.'  


 


Is the concept of art then, synonymous with the concept of, even responsible for, the 20,000 year & counting, continued great and damning failure of the human species?  It might as well be; since there is no integral moral component to art, art, does not have to help.  Yes I agree with what John and drmyrtle and Tyler are saying  - art in a manner of speaking, is human nature itself. 

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Patsu    17

To think that for years I've been blaming the cults of family & culture for our species' history of separation & self-abuse, when it was art, all along   :wacko:  

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Tyler Miller    331

 

 

I don't think humans need art to survive, but rather art is a product of human survival.  Like talking or moving.

But humans fare very poorly without communication. By extension I would argue that humans have never been without art, and do need art to survive. Otherwise anthropologists would find cultures who have thrived without art, and I don't know of any that have existed. (I'm open to learn of examples if you have them.) Heck, they are even putting art into space craft to expand the potential ways to communicate with extraterrestrials.

 

 

I meant that art is not like oxygen or food, but like moving or talking  Humans don't fare well if they don't talk or move--it's part of what we do naturally  I would agree that humans have never been without art.  Humans spontaneously create art in the absence of art.

 

I think we're in agreement.

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drmyrtle    51

Humans don't fare well if they don't talk or move--it's part of what we do naturally I would agree that humans have never been without art. Humans spontaneously create art in the absence of art.

Almost. Language is not natural. Communication is natural. Humans create art to communicate, and have used all forms of artistic expression to communicate when language isn't available, developed, or an appropriate media/form for what is trying to be expressed.

 

Patsu, you blow me away ;). One point, however. Shrodingers cat was not in two states at once. The kitty was like a cup you wondered how it was made. The act of breaking the cup to study its mechanism of construction destroys the cup. The dilemma was about the transformation that happens merely in the act of studying something.

 

Also, Patsu, have some hope! Consider how positively transforming art creation and art therapy can be. I would suggest that if more people took the time to express themselves... communicate their personal unknown... through art, we'd move forward a step in evolution.

 

I know that what people "say" in art sometimes isn't pretty, and I don't always agree, but it's always the beginning of expression.

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Patsu    17

it is my working understanding that the Shroedinger's cat scenario involved a phial of poisonous, radioactive material, that, when decayed, kills the cat.  What is not known, is whether the isotope is decayed, or not decayed.  In the scenario it is 50/50 whether the isotope is decayed at any given time, or not.  Therefore the cat could be alive, or it could be dead, before the box opens.  This is the quantum state - before observation, the cat therefore must be in neither state.  Opening the box does not trigger the killing of the cat; it proves the state of the isotope and thus, the cat.  It is the unknown state of the isotope that is the crux of the analogy.  Much like observation of atoms, dependent upon how one is looking, appear as particles, or as waves. WHen unobserved, which are they (rhetorical)?  Though I do not do the topic justice, quantum physics is not so easily nailed down.


 


So then in our discussion we seem to conclude, that art is not willful; that would explain why it seems mostly babble. 


 


There's good babble, there's not so good babble, and there's some REALLY not so good babble.


 


Mel Gibson has a good line in the Expendables 3 movie; he is observing a painting in a gallery, in a discussion with the gallery owner as the owner's assistant looks on.  It is of an abstracted American flag. Mel's character says something like, "Look at this.  It's just some paint, brush strokes on a cheap canvas, What do you want for it."  "3 mil."  "Done."  Assistant grins ear to ear.  Could be, that ARt is what the money says it is, & everybody follows.


 


As far as hope goes, we may need another thread for that, but thanks for the positive thought drmyrtle.  


 


Is art, a subset of that which blocks the evolution of human consciousness.  Possibly, but as art creation is not willful, we cannot stop doing it or the doing of it. Instead, we look toward art as a tool, art as a key to unlock the seemingly necessary evolution of human consciousness - of the many.  We prove in art, that we can do it for a small subset, for the few, perhaps for a small period of time.  But, to unlock it for all, for good, and even then, what would we be unlocking...  We cannot know until we do it.  Perhaps it is in a quantum state. If someone moved to unlock it, would you stay their hand?  It could purge the importance of all history, put the future of mankind, on different rails. Can we however leave these sorry rails, that we know so well? 

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Tyler Miller    331

 

Almost. Language is not natural. 

 

I'm not sure I can agree, when the weight of evidence says otherwise.  Look into it.  You'll be surprised.  Language is a basic human capacity and with the development of language in hominids comes a development in aesthetic and artistic sensibilities (ie. as a part of behavioural modernity).  Here's a quote from wikipedia as just an example:

 

"The development of fully modern behavior in Homo sapiens, not shared by Homo neanderthalensis or any other variety of Homo, is currently dated to some 70,000 to 50,000 years ago.

The development of more sophisticated tools, for the first time constructed out of more than one material (e.g. bone or antler) and sortable into different categories of function (such as projectile points, engraving tools, knife blades, and drilling and piercing tools), is often taken as proof for the presence of fully developed language, assumed to be necessary for the teaching of the processes of manufacture to offspring."

 

From here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_language#Primate_language

 

Communication may pre-date linguistic communication--my dog can tell me plenty.  But the rise of art etc. parallels the rise of the linguistic capacity.  It would seem that the evidence suggest that art and other facets of behavioural modernity are dependent on the human linguistic capacity to function.  Humans are inherently linguistic and language is as natural as communication.  Have you read about the development of Nicaraguan sign language?

 

But then again natural's a faulty concept--what is natural?  It cashes out into nothing concrete--a selectively defined model of human concepts/behaviour with moralistic connotations or artificial constructs separating human concepts/behaviours from an environment, usually with moralistic connotations.  Not too long ago it was considered cruel and unnatural to use a dog as a guide for a blind person, now it's the most natural thing in the world.

 

 

Patsu, you've made some really cool points.  Excellent summary of the discussion in your last post.  I'm afraid I've refrained from commenting on your posts because I don't have much to add to them and you've got so many balls in the air is hard to keep up.  Thank you for introducing me to R.D. Laing.

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Stephen    139

If you're an artist then your clay work is art.

 

If you're a artisan potter then your clay work is artisan pottery.

 

One can simply 'be' an artist by declaring themselves one and that persons work 'is' art. 

 

 

Great thread!

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Wyndham    98

Therefore I am a brain surgeon, what ever I wish to be, but does the outside world agree?

 

 

In the movie example:

Mel Gibson has a good line in the Expendables 3 movie; he is observing a painting in a gallery, in a discussion with the gallery owner as the owner's assistant looks on.  It is of an abstracted American flag. Mel's character says something like, "Look at this.  It's just some paint, brush strokes on a cheap canvas, What do you want for it."  "3 mil."  "Done."  Assistant grins ear to ear.  Could be, that ARt is what the money says it is, & everybody follows.

 

For a certain segment of the population, this is entirely true, which argues for my previous point that  in an affluent and segmented society, art is what that group says is art or values, morels, etc.

Thre is a very good definition  that states, "all art is regional", which could imply geographic,social,ethnic, economic, etc regions.

 

So is there crossover between the production region and the academic region, the studio regions, of course but there are those that try and protect their regions.

Wyndham

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Benzine    610

 

For a certain segment of the population, this is entirely true, which argues for my previous point that  in an affluent and segmented society, art is what that group says is art or values, morels, etc.

 

 

My general education Music Professor, in college, said, "Music is anything that someone finds pleasing to the ear".  The same could be said about the Visual Arts.

 

Photography was mentioned in this discussion.  Some people classify Photography as Art, some do not.  Quite a few students, that I've had over the years, don't see Photography as Art.  Many don't consider Ceramics, especially pottery, to be Art either.  So maybe we should ask them the difference...Their parents too, who take awhile to find me, during Conferences, because they weren't looking for the Art Teacher.  

So in regards to Photography, and this discussion, much like Ceramics, there are types that people consider to be Art, and some that people don't.  Why is that a mediocre darkroom print is considered, by some, to be better than a great digital photograph?  There are some amazing Instagram photos, taken on a cell phone (It's not all just people in their teens and twenties taking "selfies")

 

So essentially, nearly anything can be Art.  Those same students look through my Art History books, and see a painting, consisting of two colored swatches, and ask "How is that Art?"....Usually followed by "Can I do a project like that?"  So we have to consider that Art right?  I mean, it's in a book!  But because pottery, especially functional wares, have a purpose other than aesthetics, it's something less?  

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Stephen    139

Wyndham said "Therefore I am a brain surgeon, what ever I wish to be, but does the outside world agree?"

 

Well I didn't say anything brain surgeons :-)  I do stand by the statement for an artist. The outside world does not need to agree that an artist is an artist, not really, but most will do so with very little fanfare.

 

For example, a person with absolutely no art background can wake up tomorrow morning, go to the local art supply store, purchase a dozen white canvases and some assorted paints, go home and smear the paint on those dozen canvases in any fashion they see fit, take those paintings to a local non-juried venue, pay the booth fee and display those 12 paintings for sale. I would argue that this person would be considered by everyone at this show, patrons and fellow 'artist' alike, to be an artist.

 

If I came on this board after viewing those paintings and tried to claim, in this thread, that these paintings were meaningless and this person was not an artist I am absolutely positive that many would push back and declare that in fact this person was an artist and that I simply didn't like his/her work. That might even hold true if I knew the back story that the person just 'started out' the day before with no training.

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JBaymore    1,432

For example, a person with absolutely no art background can wake up tomorrow morning, go to the local art supply store, purchase a dozen white canvases and some assorted paints, go home and smear the paint on those dozen canvases in any fashion they see fit, take those paintings to a local non-juried venue, pay the booth fee and display those 12 paintings for sale. I would argue that this person would be considered by everyone at this show, patrons and fellow 'artist' alike, to be an artist.

 

Which brings us to the concept of "Outsider Art".  Now there's a can-o-worms definition.  ;)

 

best,

 

..................john

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Benzine    610

 

 

Which brings us to the concept of "Outsider Art".  Now there's a can-o-worms definition.  ;)

best,

 

..................john

 

 

I was just going to say that John.

 

I also forgot, that in my previous post, I was going to mention R. Mutt, and his lovely sculpture.

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Wyndham    98

Yes, anyone can be an artist, potter, writer, etc. That's the beauty of a free society. If I as a Christian, proclaim my faith in a Muslim culture I may be killed for my faith, here in this country, I have the right to enjoy my faith.

The issue is not the label, it's the consequences of that label.in the society we are in..

When pottery was an economic force, those who held the power to grant the status as a "master potter" held the economic viability of that person in their control.

With great freedom comes great responsibility. I call myself an artist as well as a potter. I am responsible to others that I know my craft. As an artist, I am responsible to know and understand my materials and not misled people into thinking I know more than I do. The art police don't check if I am using permanent color fast pigments, it's my personal responsibility to learn this, so to just pick up paints and canvas and create does not(IMO) an artist make.

Worse case, my paints peel from my canvas and the customer feels cheated. As a potter if I don't understand how to choose the proper clay for the temp I fire, the customer gets burned by a microwave issue by an improperly fired mug.

There is a moral responsibility to all of our actions. Our responsibility   rises with the degree of risk we ask others to trust us with.

Just a few thoughts.

Wyndham

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Bob Coyle    113
The original question "Where Does Clay Stand In Fine Art"  If it means now in 2014 it can be answered pretty simply by looking at some of the most popular art mags.  What you will see is an overwhelming emphasis on  wall art over three dimensional art. Then if you look at three dimensional art you will see that metal and glass far outweigh any contribution by ceramics. Other than a few people who made it into the ranks of the "branded artists" few of us"potters"...  even good potters... can hope to even get close to the popularity of say a mediocre encaustic dabbler... encaustic being the current  "in" medium... at least around here.  Even when ceramics make an appearance, they are almost never functional. Much of  what is presented  in the leading edge art mags is in the form of sculpture or "installations" that could just as well be done with other media for the same effect. So what we do is art,  because we say it is, but I'm afraid it is not taken as seriously as a form of  "fine art" now  as is many other media,  and it sure doesn't bring the same price.  

 

   

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Idaho Potter    62

I happen to work in the "decorative art" of ceramics, because that's where my heart and background come together.  I would love to be able to make a teapot, casserole, or anything functional with ease that I see (or infer) in works by other potters.  I am in awe of those of you who can sit down and make six bowls that not only  look like a set, but stack one within the other. I make functional work sometimes that I'm willing to sign my name to, but not on a regular basis.

 

Because my background is primarily in sculpture & painting, I tend to use clay for those purposes--either as a sculpture or as a canvas for painting. I hope that there are potters who, like me, work in a narrow slice of ceramics art and fully admire those whose sense of art has broadened their interest and endeavors. Regardless of whether you consider yourself an artist or artisan I hold you in high regard for the simple fact that once you entered the art arena, you've not backed up one bit.  

 

Shirley

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

The production potters of traditional ware in Spain do not consider themselves to be artists. They consider themselves tradesmen. Studio potters are different and reflect more the mindset of the Arts and Crafts movement as a backlash to the industrial mass produced mundane.

In the Renaissance great artists like Donatello, and others did work in clay. I think it depends on the intent of the person. Some make good work and some do not.

These examples are from the Bargello in Florence. It is the national Museum of Sculpture. The first 2 are by Donatello and the last is by one of the della Robbias.

post-1954-0-24154100-1407071020_thumb.jpg

post-1954-0-07829900-1407071038_thumb.jpg

post-1954-0-39253200-1407071050_thumb.jpg

post-1954-0-24154100-1407071020_thumb.jpg

post-1954-0-07829900-1407071038_thumb.jpg

post-1954-0-39253200-1407071050_thumb.jpg

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Wyndham    98

Another part of this discussion for me centers around the rapid changes of the past 10 or 15 yrs.

I recently saw that compact cameras, the rage just a few short years ago are being replaced by cell phones with cameras. The cell phone cameras giving the same or better quality than the compact cameras; film cameras=gone.

 

It almost seems that our comparative clay past is not 100's of years but 10's of years as we try and keep instep with today's society .

Only a half a generation ago, potters in Seagrove sold dinner plates for $1-$4 each, today I'm at $32-$36 and another potter in Asheville is at $125/plate, with the reasoning that it is a reasonable price for his customers.

 

As in a previous post in this thread, money equals standing equals art, hard to disagree in this context.

Wyndham

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JBaymore    1,432

Half a generation ago, what was minimum wage and annual median family income?  What is minimum wage and annual median family income now?  Where is that all going (Some say if it were keeping pace.... $15 an hour)?

 

Around here a unskilled burger flipper at Micky D's is at about $10 an hour.  How that relates to the buying, and hence the pricing of,  pottery..... there has to be SOME connection.

 

It might be that at an average of $34 per plate... you are having less buying power than a half a generation ago.  Food for thought.

 

best,

 

.......................john

 

EDIT.... just looked it up for the Fed one .  In 1963  $1.25 / hr.  Now $7.25  So plate back then at $2.50-ish took two hours to buy based on that.  Now, plate at $34-ish takes 4.7 hours to buy.  Pottery sales declining....... buying power is going steadily downhill in looking at that.  Median household income increased in "buying power" by only 20% over that same period.  But the price of that plate increased by about 13 TIMES.  Again..... buying powwer impacts ssales of non-essential items.

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Wyndham    98

Along with that look at the diversity of items that compete for the disposable $$$. Our slice of the pie is almost transparent.

Wyndham

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MudBug    5

My two cents on fine art:

 

All human activities require Mind to function at some level or the other, including in producing and appreciating artworks.

 

Debates abound about the purpose of art, if there is actually a purpose, if there is, then what is that purpose, and if utilitarian objects can even be considered art at all (because the very nature of those objects are to serve some sort of purpose toward an eventual goal) etc.

 

Regardless of the outcome of such debates, art, as opposed to science, recognizes this fact: Mind can only go so far. The farthest Mind can take a human being's sense of appreciation (in an academic sense, the sense of aesthetics) so far. The farthest that Mind can take a human being's appreciation is to the point of Wonderment and no further - in some cases, described as the aha moment.

 

Somehow, in life, as sentient beings, we all recognize that there is a field just beyond this Point of Wonderment, where our personal egos settle quietly, mind empty of self-arguments, nothing else is left but pure enjoyment describable only as wonderment at best.  This wonderment manifests in various ways depending on the medium, message and the purpose of a piece of work (if there is one) and the level of indulgence from the observer. 

 

We all know that the mysterious quality of balanced-ridable-mobility is neither present in the bicycles on their own as objects, nor in the riders on their own as users of bicycles. This fully-experienceable balanced-ridable-mobility somehow comes into being through an intimate interaction between the bicycle and its rider to the point of being one and no longer two separate things. This ridable-mobility is a continuous and live experience inseparable from the interaction itself. It exists only as long as that interaction continues. We all experience it. The magic is there. We just don’t call it magic, not after we grow up!

 

Similarly, the sense of fine art is not a quality of the object and/or a quality of the observer separately. A sense of fine aesthetics is an outcome of the active relationship, a balanced indulgence between the object and the observer at the moment of that experiential contact.

 

If an object possesses the quality which impartially provides the ground for that Aha experience, and the observer possesses the quality to recognize that possibility in that object, then I can say a Moment of Fine Art has great possibility of coming into being.

 

Fine art is a living experience, not a quality of any objects or any personages. It is rather a quality of the moment – a certain kind of moment.

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