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Archive for October 21st, 2018

Recently was the news of a Banksy Art at Sotheby’s fetching a million in price and it shredded itself. Is it art?
Art is nature given a treatment. Without which I would not know where Monet’s waterlilies can be put under. This treatment is the manner the eye has selectively chosen what to take and what to leave out from nature and rearrange them in a canvas or a surface that is restricted. Price of a painting in Van Gogh’s lifetime was almost nil which is not the case now. The same painting but now it’s worth is spoken in terms of millions. How come? Prices follow some economic principle of supply and demand which is outside the realm of art strictly speaking but it is no longer the case. Price of a work of art is beside the point. It does not explain art.

Why speak of art in terms of dollars where the nature itself is priceless? Only a blind can appreciate what a masterpiece he is missing. Nature for a man with normal faculties unimpaired, understanding it in its entirety is a challenge. At visceral level it is an experience and refreshing as well. In familiarity he understands from so many tokens, color, texture and changeability of the visible it is a masterpiece that sprung from the soil. Besides constant renewal taking place beneath the surface calls to account not merely the ground but air, wind and many other influences. A leaf falling for a man whose sensibility is sharpened by it may say, ‘tears of nature wipe away mine own’. It has no meaning outside the nature and the person whose passing mood,- and subjective, can well identify. Art is interaction between two, the object and the eye, and is not relevant to what others may have to say on the matter of falling leaf. It may be autumn for instance. Nevertheless it elicited a response. This art is not what we shall discuss in this essay.

Art of nature is natural but art is not natural instead it must take into account of man’s nature. Where it begins or when it ends is past reckoning. For instance, his inability to take in beauty can explode as violence. One who slashes a masterpiece like Rembrandt’s Night Watch (It happened once) reveals this sad truth. It is like noxious fumes arising from a thermal vent on the ocean floor. It cannot be seen as a rule: his response to beauty is never same. Man can always rely on his rational thinking part when he denudes a rain forest and say,”More grazing fields for my cattle.” It is how man has treated the sylvan beauty which exists not only for its own and for the pleasure and well being of others. Man cannot help but is compelled to react to the beauty. He is before Nature that has come into being without so much as ‘By your leave’ but respond at least by littering in some cases.
For many beauty of nature is beyond his intellect to digest or to recreate, All that he can understand is worth of dollar and cents. So it must be reduced to a level he can find pleasure. No one in right mind will call that is art. Art is for man whose taste (as in the case of nature ability to refine man’s sensibilities) requires effort, It has to do with his study of the world about him and in his ability to isolate everyday objects he comes across, rearrange in order to make a connection is a good place to begin with. Whoever has seen the grid plan of New York with its avenues and streets cannot fail to see in Mondrian’s paintings some familiarity. Such familiarity does not happen in a vacuum. Mind has to be cultivated to leave its natural prejudices out and take a fresh look with open mind. It takes effort.

Man’s outrage against brute Power and its naked aggression can invite an artist to express in canvasses as diverse as from Goya and Picasso. Man’s diversity widens as his experience and his dedication to express in its truthfulness is the religion of artist. He adopts different forms each of which cannot be accidental. It is in holding your emotional reserves and expressing in lines, colors and patterns what holds everything together in a canvas. It is not what nature has to worry over. Art of man is cultivated as Nature is not, in order to impress others to view in a particular manner is art. In this nature is diffuse while man is particular. His limitations impose on him certain restrictions which for the same reason his completed work must be elevated into realm of art. Its specific gravity runs throughout the canvas evenly so examine any part the brushstrokes his choice of color palette or symbols- his vision to give all a common label, it speaks truth. His works can be quantified but the sum of it is far less than it presents. His art is such nature of art allows him to exclude all that is irrelevant from his work, After it is behind him there is nothing further he can do but what the viewer brings makes it come alive. Such incompleteness make art as valid as conversation. It is as intelligent as giving full attention in any conversation to subject matter and the person without letting mind wander.
Benny

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