Can art be worth focusing on without meaning? Must “good” art convey the zeitgeist of the days in which it absolutely was created? Does “depth of meaning” correlate directly to “goodness” of art?
A definition of terms here could be of value nevertheless the terms in question are so predicated on individual and subjective opinion that the defintions could be questioned.
Abstract painting, particularly the nonobjective painting of numerous artists because the 1940s is arguably devoid of meaning. In fact many artists are interested that way. They choose to see purely compositional factors, the tenets of design while the measure of 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 best level of design, and 2) they could transcend it to “high art.” Just as 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 within my opinion. The “meanings” that some narrow-sighted critics reference to be the paramount criterion of “high art” revolve around historic, philosophic, and religious dimensions. These meanings purportedly reflect the best ideals and aspirations of man and god(God?).
I appreciate meanings as much as the next person. I just like the classical, epic struggles of mythology, the ancient renditions of the annals of the planet, the religious icons of each and every century, the struggles of mankind and every individual in mankind abstract painting. They’re wonderful meanings and certainly worth artistic depiction.
Now consider this is of a man/woman who struggles to produce 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 an informed 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. Furthermore, their work is meant to free, enhance and amplify your perception of art and beauty in all of its mysterious manifestations.
That “is” meaning. You can witness this meaning in its visual record of every abstract painting. No, not every painting is really a masterpiece – and it can’t fall back on cliche’or a cultural nomenclature. It stands as a testament to an actual battle to push something to the best level of art without help from all of those other “manifold meaning packages” which were the reason behind art in previous centuries.Read More