THE CHALLENGE BEGS
the too obvious question: What is Art?
DON’T ASK ME
I’m married to an artist. One could equally define domestic bliss and impossible in a single breath (but it works). I adore creative people (and I think she keeps me as a some kind of pet, or has a morbid curiosity).
This is a lengthy post with lots of snaps and homilies about art. If you reach the end you’ll not have learned anything much about art but quite a bit about me.
TO TITIVATE YOUR PRURIENCE
we’ll start with an opening classic, yet another ‘Birth of Venus’ by someone or other (name irrelevant—they all do it). I like it for obvious reasons and ‘cos by using it I can make a pretentious claim to culture (it’s not naughty if it’s art, so there):
And while we’re here we may as well toss in a shot of a couple of bikini girls—
—the bikini of course being a modern invention named after a wee atoll that was rearranged by an atomic-bomb test; ergo no credit at all given to the cuties of about two thousand years ago who were immortalised in this mosaic (which I believe was found under London somewhere. England, I think). But it is still art, even if the whole image is actually nothing but a bunch of little dots (and the guys who devised computer screens thought they were being clever?).
ON THE THEME
of ancients, herewith a wee image of a lady with a tablet and stylus.
The caption that came with the shot waxed eloquently about how she was the wife of the Head of some household and was responsible for keeping the accounts while hubby was out serving the Empire in the military or otherwise funding it with endless taxes—nothing ever changes here either, it seems.
I add this as a work of art because it conveys not only the image of a lovely young woman and her circumstances but a graphic representation of her times, mores, and the manners thereof. Just the other day in a coffee shop I saw a young damsel in the exact same pose with her smartphone, chewing wistfully on a stylus (not as good looking though—a typical Southland battle-maiden).
DO WE WANT FUNCTIONAL ART
Or purely decorative art—sometimes with a message? Some time ago when The Spouse and I were exiting a supermarket (on foot, dammit—car was parked other end of town; and her chirpy “Just a few bits” was deliberately designed to lull. Briefly) we happened across this mural on their local school—
—it shows previous generations mixed and interacting with moderns. In a few brief years it will of course be waaaaaay out of date and quaint with it. This one I’ll call decorative—and I don’t think anyone without a camera ever notices it anyway.
But for functional, how ’bout this baby—
—I could have brightened it a bit that would have been my art intruding into their art. Dull day, so stet. It’s artistic (sort of) and fulfills its functions nicely. So we’ll keep it …
AS FOR PURE
decoration, this next is a sundial (would you believe) in Invercargill, complete with star-map of the local heavens built into the dome. Some call it a sculpture, some adore it, others hate it and the damsel strolling briskly off to class seems not even to notice it. ‘Twas ever thus—
—and enjoy while we can, the local council has decided to make this one-way street into a two-way street (back to what it was before they made it one-way) so of course this artistic whimsical eyesore is redundant. Every brick underneath it is an expensive donation and engraved with the donors’ names—an attempt to snatch at immortality mirroring this below—
—but won’t last anywhere near as long. I love ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and things as works of art. I like the idea of a single picture being worth a thousand words; but only artistically. To precisely convey a message it’s pretty hard to beat the good ol’ Roman script; although some Asian scripts pass as art in themselves. Possibly as abstract art, which reminds me that just yesterday I snapped—
These abstract wee drops caught the sun but the camera didn’t catch how they caught the sun. Cameras, it seems, don’t catch glow—but true artists can. And for the ‘spiritually’ minded—do you notice any similarity between these raindrops and the ‘orbs’ of orb-photo fame? ‘Nuff said, I don’t want to offend anyone—it’s just weird that the dustier the place the more ‘orbs’ the flash can reveal.
some more snaps but this post is quite long enough already, so I’ll cut to the chase and go straight to the point which is this rainbow I snapped the end of recently around sunset. And no, it hasn’t been tweaked—the colours were absolutely brilliant and the bow swept the full arc of the sky. I have no idea who the people were but am sorely tempted to go back there sometime with a shovel—for a bow like that the pot of gold must be huge; and gold buys all the art and artists in the world. Sadly for the artists they mostly have to be dead to be top sellers—I think it’s something to do with Supply and Demand.
(Oooops … that’s four times Firefox has spat out my blasted rainbow—so I’ll post now and try again later, to fit it in as an edit: watch this space)(not that it’s any great shakes as art or photography, but I was trying to draw attention to Mother Nature herself as being a wee bit of an accomplished artist. ‘Twas ever thus …)
(And I can’t complain. Not much, no-one ever listens … and this time it went off beautifully. Damn, I thought I’d discovered a time-warp—much like when The Spouse left a slip of paper out for me with PTO on both sides) (I was there for hours before she took pity and ripped it up).