Can art be of importance without meaning? Must “good” art convey the zeitgeist of the times by which it had been created? Does “depth of meaning” correlate straight to “goodness” of art?
A definition of terms here will be of value however the terms involved are so predicated on individual and subjective opinion that the defintions will be questioned.
Abstract painting, particularly the nonobjective painting of several artists because the 1940s is arguably lacking meaning. In reality many artists want it that way. They prefer to see purely compositional factors, the tenets of design because the measure of their works. Does this relegate them to the degree of design, not truly “high art.”
Abstract paintings can perform two things. 1) They are able to ascend to the highest level of design, and 2) they could transcend it to “high art.” Just like 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 to be 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 another person. I such as the classical, epic struggles of mythology, the ancient renditions of the history of the world, the religious icons of each and every century, the struggles of mankind and every individual in mankind. They’re wonderful meanings and certainly worthy of artistic depiction.
Now consider the meaning of a man/woman who struggles to produce pure beauty abstract photo. The artist. The artist who wants to create not merely “high art” but does so with no tools of religious thought, with no maps of cultural revolutions, with no applause of an informed and socially motivated political movement, with no traditions of a craftsmens guild. Look at this courageous individual.
These individuals not merely attempt real, although only mortal, creation at its highest level – they do so in an original and hardwon individual style. Additionally, their work is intended to free, enhance and amplify your perception of art and beauty in each of its mysterious manifestations.
That “is” meaning. You are able to witness this meaning in its visual record of each abstract painting. No, its not all painting is really a masterpiece – and it can’t fall back on cliche’or a social nomenclature. It stands as a testament to a real battle to push something to the highest level of art without any help from all the other “manifold meaning packages” that were the cause of art in previous centuries.One comment