Saturday, 25 October 2008

The brain of the art-ee

I was trying to say that I think a feature of good art is to make good use of the brain that looks at it.

Limerick said that this applies to dance performances, but it immediately struck me, on reading his post, that it applies equally well to painting or writing or sculpture or any kind of art. For example: in Pride and Prejudice, we don't get told exactly why Wickham elopes (I have a beautiful theory). The shading of the Mona Lisa makes her expression appear slightly different depending on how far away you stand, and similar cognitive leverage is the essence of the kind of oil painting that makes people say “just like a photograph”, when, of course, it's absolutely nothing like a photograph. A photgraph leaves out quite different things. Michelangelo's unfinished Deposition has more presence than some of his finished works. Music sounds more interesting when the beat is not always explicit, than when it is.

Anyway. All the people who produced the works above were artists. Some of these are for listeners, some for readers, some for an audience, and I can't even think what the word is for people who look at paintings. I said "art-ee" before realising I had made this word up on the spot. Shall I stick with it or is there a better one?

1 comment:

Psyche said...

I'm dying to hear your theory of Wickham!