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Where Does Clay Stand In Fine Art

disscusion on clay & art

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#21 Patsu

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 03:52 PM

I think that you are right though Tyler, all theories of art do seem to have deficiencies.  You definitely have added to my considerations as to what art is.  Keep stirring!  This is the conversation.  Gadamer is well worth bringing up.  I was thinking on bringing in R.D. Laing.  There are a myriad of perspectives to come at these things from, and from each perspective, each his own perceptions.  What I was getting at, is only that Gadamer's theory is a relatively recent philosophy that can blanket the past, but that to the mass of human awareness that lived previous to his work, his theory can't have relevance or be known to those who came before him though they too had valid perspectives and theories on art.  Gadamer's is seemingly more evolved.  Theories of art are great to learn of, and to ponder, but they can be difficult to discuss, is all.  Our understandings truly have become more rigorous but I do not think that necessarily validates Gadamer's perspective.  It's still a theory based on philosophical presumptions that are not logical analysis.  It's not testable or scientific or prove-able.  It may be a complicated theory, I may not understand it as you do yourself though still, I think that there is some validity to it.  I know that you think it a good theory, I do not disagree.  I think your answer re: Michelangelo is reasonable.  Sport isn't non-purposive if it makes money, art one could argue is purposive if it makes money.  It's a matter of how one comes at it & I think it's great fun to come at it all 6 ways from Sunday if at all possible...


"In everything, never do as others do." - some ancient mystic's grandmother


#22 Patsu

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 04:02 PM

Well so a guy has a painting.  He gets 'real' emotional satisfaction from it, but another person, received moneys for it.  To the other person, to the creator, the art fulfilled a measurable function - it gained money for the creator, who then bought rice and more art supplies with the money, and his survival continued.  To the guy with the painting, he gets emotional satisfaction, not the same as the money that the creator got, not purposive.  Yet paradoxically that guy who got emotional satisfaction, did not feel the urge to beat his wife, on that night.  Now it's purposive right?  But the next night he does beat his wife & she leaves him (whew).  No longer purposive.  Or is it?  She is now free from his tyranny! Purposive.  All a matter of perspectives of various individuals at various moments in time, so perhaps Art is a schroedinger's cat sort of equation, everything is in a quantum state of both being and not being art, and only in moments of observation & consideration, can it flip into one state or the other, for any specific individual observer...


"In everything, never do as others do." - some ancient mystic's grandmother


#23 Wyndham

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 07:27 PM

Ah, I love it. Art explains quantum physics, I can see that on several levels.

Now in the above example, the painting is simply a painting, everyone acting or reacting are outside the painting . Without interpretation or really translation, art is a hidden language known only to the artist. How many times have we all seen someone wax poetically over a painting, sculpture or other, only to learn the artist created it is an altered state, not connected to the viewers interpretation .

Did Jackson Pollack commit suicide because he saw his life's work as drivel, as a con game on himself?

If we go back to primitive ceramics, where group  survival  was dependent on function and quality, the potter also embellished  the forms for both personal pride and community cohesion.

It may well be when a society is not as affluent as ours and more interdependent on each other and the land, the art has a closer connection  to the people it serves.

Though I'm not that familiar with the Japanese tea ceremonies, there seems to be  a need to help tie generations and tradition together so an identity won't be lost.

Since we have such an affluent and diverse culture, the fragmentation of art seems a natural progression where movements/trends in art can be transitory.

Wyndham



#24 Tyler Miller

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 08:57 PM

 

They're not the same.  They're obviously not the same.

 

No, they are not the same.... but they are tightly related in my mind.  One feeds the tummy...... the other feeds the soul.  Both are necessary.... and purposeful.  Just not the same purposeful.

 

best,

 

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

 

 

 

I think we're using purposive in a different way here.  What I meant was that when you're fully engage in the "play" of art, sport, or a game, you're working toward a non-outcome.  If you win a football game, you don't really get anything for winning other than a good feeling.  The reasons you may play football do not align with the reasons you won.  The reasons you do art do not align with the internal logic of an artistic work.  That's what I mean by non-purposive.  I'm not saying art serves no purpose, far from it, I'm saying its purpose is apart from its internal logic.  Irrigation plans align with the logic of watering a garden or a farm.

 

Here's a question--is the necessity of art a categorical necessity (i.e. humans by definition are artistic and non artistic beings aren't human) or a conditional necessity (humans nourish themselves on art)?  I think it's the former.  I think the activity is innate to all people.  Humans (used to) hum and sing spontaneously (until the advent of portable music).  Drinking songs, work songs, songs just to pass the time.  My dad sings when washing the dishes, my mom doodles, I've caught my girlfriend dancing.  

 

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



#25 drmyrtle

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 09:49 PM

Art fufills a function.... it is a communication vehicle.  It conveys information in a way that is not the "typical" communication routine. 


Yes. I think this exactly. Expand the definition of both "communication" and "function" and I believe there is a not too distant point where those concepts merge. Art is everything created by nature or human hand, and however we take the information/communication in, it 'speaks'. One may disagree that a sunrise is art, but when you gaze upon the fine art photo of a sunrise, isn't it still most relevant that the spectacular colors and shape are what occurred? Otherwise you'd be viewing a well processed piece of paper...

My other thought as I was reading this discussion blends in with something I've had to learn more about for work. Interception is the neurological process of being aware of the internal arousal process and condition of the 'inside'. For example, when you put that cup to your lips and sip, you receive a shower of internal sensory information, along with information relating whether the water is relieving your sense of thirst. As Patsu relates, experiencing the cup is a very intimate experience.

It occurs to me that people have all sorts of responses to intimate experiences, and this diversity of response may link to expressions of production vs fine art. Things that are by nature objectified (paintings, sculpture, etc... the handled things from above descriptions), are not experienced as easily on a visceral, interoceptive level. Since humans have a knack for distancing themselves cognitively, it makes some sense that, for some, the very experiential nature of drinking from a cup puts it into a realm of... less than art. For some, feeling something does make it mundane.

Those of us that revel in being covered in mud more often than not, are probably more on the scale side of enjoying or seeking the sensual experience of using and interacting with pottery, and have trained our eyes to see the sensual aspects of the creation that others with less experience can't see (so see art/communication through form or texture, etc. where others see a "cup").

This difference in perspective and value, cognitive distance vs. experiential interoception, is something that cultures have always, and probably always will, tussle with. Communication (nonverbal) still happens whether the receiver takes it in or not.

#26 drmyrtle

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 10:04 PM


 
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.

#27 Patsu

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 10:10 PM

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. 


"In everything, never do as others do." - some ancient mystic's grandmother


#28 Patsu

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 10:22 PM

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:  


"In everything, never do as others do." - some ancient mystic's grandmother


#29 Tyler Miller

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 10:23 PM

 

 
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.



#30 drmyrtle

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 08:50 AM

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.

#31 Patsu

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 09:49 AM

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? 


"In everything, never do as others do." - some ancient mystic's grandmother


#32 Tyler Miller

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 10:21 AM

 

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....rimate_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.



#33 Stephen

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 11:46 AM

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!



#34 Wyndham

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 02:04 PM

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



#35 Benzine

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 03:22 PM

 

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?  


"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#36 Stephen

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 03:25 PM

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.



#37 JBaymore

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 04:38 PM

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


John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#38 Benzine

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 05:26 PM

 


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.


"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#39 Stephen

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 06:10 PM

Bet the janitor that had to clean the perm marker off of the 'sculpture' wasn't amused.



#40 Benzine

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 06:29 PM

Duchamp was seen walking away, whistling with his hands in his pockets.


"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"




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