We Humans have been creating art since prehistoric times. Each culture and historic time seems to have its own definition of what art is. Each culture creates its own ideals for how art should look. “What is art? ” is not a simple question with only one correct answer. Most artists have a vision that they need to express. This vision usually can’t be explained adequately with words, art has its own language and vocabulary, of visual ideas, form, color, space, art history, emotions, and spirit. It is often thought that art is one of the inessential frills of life, that its purpose is simply to decorate a room, or to be beautiful.Order now
But the best art deals with the essentials of life, whether it be love, death, war, human relationships, or affirmation of the human spirit. The job description of an artist is to make us look, think, and feel, by whatever means necessary, and according to the particular artist’s training, vision, experience, and point of reference. Art can be much more than a rectangular painting on a wall, or a piece of sculpture on a pedestal. Since the early 20th century, art has continued to evolve more forms, many of which cross over old or arbitrary barriers of labels and categories.
The main objective, and distinguishing characteristic, of good art, is its expression, what it is “saying. ” To accomplish this communication, artists need to create freely and question assumptions about art, and about themselves and their audience. Traditional paintings until the 20th century tried, to be an illusion of reality, as though the viewer was looking through a window into a space or the outside world. Techniques used to create this illusion of reality were perspective, foreshortening, shading to create three dimensions, and other spatial cues to give the illusion of spatial depth.
In the late 19th century, artists began to put aside this need for illusion, and with Cubism in the early 20th century, created collages which had no pretensions of three dimensionality. Also, in the 19th century, paintings were about what they were about, a landscape was just that, a historical or religious painting had a clear meaning related to the historical or religious event depicted. Or they could have symbolic intent. In modern and contemporary art, the work may not have a subject in this sense, if it is abstract or non-objective.
And often, the work is about art itself, that is, it is related to other art of the past or present, or its subject is the nature of art. What is art? what is perception? and other questions related to the nature of art in contemporary society. There is also a difference between subject matter and content in modern and contemporary art. Subject matter means what the work of art depicts, that is, what the image is. Content means what the meaning of the work is. The style of artworks is a relatively superficial issue, and style labels are often inaccurate and misleading.
Most artists do not fit neatly into categories of style, plus, they grow and change as artists. However, there are some characteristics to certain art movements, even though some of its members may not have these characteristics. For instance, Impressionism can be said to be about color and light, though the style of Degas is very different from Monet or Renoir. Expressionism can be said to be about emotion, and perhaps suffering, though styles varied among expressionistic painters. Cubism was about space and composition, though it had several types, analytical, synthetic, and collage.
Surrealism tended to be about the unconscious, fantasy, dreams and other imagery, though its artists produced wildly divergent styles of art. The Abstract expressionists tended to deal with abstract imagery and spirit/emotion, though their work varied from Jackson Pollock to Barnett Newman . Art is often about the visual elements: color, structure, and the forms themselves. So finally, art to me is not a frill. It often deals with the most important issues in life, and can affect us very deeply, especially noticed by everyone in the universe. It inspires us to positivity, brotherhood, survival, love, and understanding.