Sunday, January 8, 2012

Abstract Art

I've been studying art in one way or another for most of my life. It occurred to me the other day that my elementary school art teacher was teaching us art history right alongside our art lessons. This became more pointed in high school, and then one day, in my college years, someone pointed out that Art History was a discipline. Something that I could study, write about, and explore in ways that other subjects were explored. My life was forever, wonderfully changed.

But in all of this study, and after all these years of looking at art, sometimes I forget how important and powerful it can be. I am fortunate in that every single day of my job, I get to handle original artworks, but most of the time, I don't even think about it. It's just my job. I never walk in and think, "I GET TO LOOK AT AND TOUCH ARTWORK TODAY!!!!!!!!" Today though, I realized I should.

I often think about art more in the abstract, like an idea to be discussed, rather than actual, physical objects. Strange, since I argue all the time about object-based focused in art. In all of my studying, writing, and working, I've forgotten how powerful the original artwork can be--and is.

Today, I got to touch an M.C. Escher print. And a Van Gogh print. Two things that the artist also touched. Two things that the artist designed, created, and have survived in amazing condition. I stared at both for minutes on end, poring over each little detail, marveling at how Van Gogh's faces all seem sad, sunken, and full of a world-weariness. Escher's print was like standing on the top of a roof and looking both down and out, with the perspective working perfectly--simultaneously! That is the beauty of Escher, he understood how math made amazing art. Something I still don't grasp in my own work.

The irony of working in a museum is that you can become numb to some of the things you see on a daily basis. Artwork becomes part of a job, not a thing of beauty. Today I was reminded that artwork is a real thing, to be admired, savored, and learned from.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post. Life is always better when we can appreciate the small, or even not so small things.