Feeling It

Updated: 6 days ago

I've read two things in the last two days, from two different points of view, saying the same thing. Art is about feeling. Francis Bacon, artist, talks about art from the artists perspective as "a method of opening up areas of feeling rather than merely an illustration of an object." The artist is pouring his/her feeling onto a canvas . . . whether pen and paper, paint and canvas, photo lens and computer. It is very personal. On the other side of the table is Siri Hustvedt, essayist, who took the observer's perspective when she said "depending on its emotional importance or salience, a viewer may perceive an object as closer or more distant . . . a creature of the past, of expectation, of having learned to read the world." To both, art is making sense of that which, on first glance, is unimportant if not insensible. From my perspective, if capturing an image, not designed, is freezing the image in time, it is because that image elicits an emotional response, said to you (the artist), if it had a voice, there is something here, it means something, and therefore must be captured and preserved--we need to care. It's a relationship! And what does the casual observer, see after the moment has passed? A designed scene works the same, except it required thought and a conscious grouping of objects or a prepared event that can have meaning only in that one moment to that one person. After that, it becomes a study, a puzzle for the observer to work out, attach new meaning, create a different story. When I took this picture, it was the layers of huge leaves that caught my attention. Layers of opening to the light, some more open than others, but all crowding in among eachother. Now when I look at it, modified as I have done with it, I see a cave, as in the contrast between light and shadow. Capturing the "feeling" is something I'm struggling with as I try to find the groove for my Balderdash project. There are depths here that I have yet to explore.


From The LIves of Lucien Freud by William Feaver, and A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women, Essays on Art, Sex and the Mind by Siri Hustvedt.

The Biltmore, Asheville, North Carolina, May 2009

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