When I put out that question – ‘What is Art?’ - all sorts of links, answers and reminders came up. It’s that Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. Despite the barrage of information this is the last article for now on that particular question…
I came across Seth Godin’s book ‘The Icarus Deception – How High Will You Fly?’ Here the author talks about ‘Your Art’ – meaning ’Your Thing’ – whatever constructive activity that inspires you to get up in the morning. He invites everybody to treat what they do as Art and tell the world about it. So here we have a very broad definition of what Art is – an attitude anyone can adopt.
I attended the Cas Holmes' talk Urban/Nature: Using the Found hosted by HVA. She explained her magpie collector tendencies may be the result of the gypsy in her. In her art she merges found materials - natural and man-made – using both painting and textile techniques. She melds these diverse objects – from teabags to nylon lace - into cohesive works. Galleries find it difficult to pigeon hole her. Clearly Cas Holmes is an artist who is doing ‘Her Thing’ - Her Own Art.
I went to the lecture What Making Does to the Maker by the art historian turned artist Chris Bucklow hosted by UHArts. He spoke about his view that we are still in the era of Romanticism, where humans and human creations are seen as separate from nature. He contrasted this with the Renaissance view which saw human activity as part of and adding the final touch to nature. So it seems that expectations of art and artists appear to change in different times and different places too. The definition of Art shifts with time and place.
Chris Bucklow has gone through many phases as an artist. First plant sculptures consisting of plants he has genetically modified or grafted to create unique combinations which in turn led to film-making. Later, life size photographs of friends and family created by exposing large sheets of photographic paper to the sunshine through pinholes and coloured filters. He calls this series Guests. More recently several series of oil paintings, for example To Reach Inside a Vault. This paragraph is clearly a simplification of a lifetime of work, but indicates the range an artist might achieve in their body of work!
So what is Art? Maybe it’s the brave steps along the high wire of our curiosity, our quest. Who knows what it is that sets an artist off on a particular string of projects? That’s the subject of another blog!