Art Quote for the Day

IMG_3003Media are things that transform thought into action.  All things when moved from the domain of thought to the physical domain exist in time, place, substance, and movement.  Every medium therefore consists of these four qualities.  The basic character of each medium is determined by the degree to which each quality is exploited . It is  important to note that every medium has infinite potential in each category – time, place, substance and movement. And it is WE who choose to manifest any one or more of its potential qualities and conversely to delimit the active expressive presence of the others.

Thought of in this way, the most humble media exhibit infinite potential.  To illustate this point, let’s take the humblest of all media, the cheap and ubiquitous crayon.  Instead of using crayons conventionally to make a picture of a house, a tree, or what have you, we can exploit two rarely used dimensions of crayons, time and space.  We can denude the crayons of their wrappers, exposing cylinders of color.  Suppose we do this to about one hundred crayons, the cost of about one tube of Windor & Newton Rose Madder.. Let’s suspend these miniature cylinders of color from various lengths of thread, tying each end to an overhead grill.  We now have color cylinders in space whose intervals, hues, tones, and values we can arrange to fit our mood or theme.

Suppose we now have a small fan to gently blow through and animate the suspended colored cylinders.  Now, if we want to create a denser, more complex aesthetic environment, we can put in several light sources, each of a different color.  Positioned at various angles, they shine throught the oscillating rain of colored cylinders, casting bands of sifting colors on the surrounding walls.

Why not take this exploitation of the humble  crayon’s potential still further? Suppose we beat a simple rhythm to the movement of the crayons and the shadows and light they project. If still more drama is needed for our intentions, we can stand between the suspended crayons and the wall upon which the light from the bulbs is falling and move to what we see, what we hear, and what we feel.  Voila – the crayon transformed.

No More Secondhand Art – Awakening the Artist Within by Peter London

NOW I WANT TO GO AND BUY SOME CRAYONS!!

Art Quote for the Day

NARROW/BROAD SPECTRUM OF PALETTE

Do I want a severe vocabulary to express myself, eliminating shades of gray, and eschewing the full spectrum? A constrained palette will compel me to make every mark unequivocal, force me to be decisive, take from me any hiding place.  Is this what I want? Need I come so bare to the creative encounter?

With black and white I can get  directly to the bones of things. I can touch structure, reason, form, and do so raw.  With color, I have climate and atmosphere. With color I can tune more exactly feeling, mood, can soak form in color, I can fill space with affective light, leaning on my audience to sway them to see it my way.  I can color their experience, nudge them in my direction.

Why not let it all go?  Why be so exclusive and hard on myself?  Why not let everything in?  Life is teeming with outrageous variety, embarrassing behavior: why should I restrain myself?  When an infinite circus is whirling around me, why should I be so timid in my  choices?  Is severe choice a failure of imagination, timidity of spirit, or quite the contrary?  On the other hand, is there not something grand in making judicious choices and being satisfied with that?  When everyone else is grabbing everything they can get their hands on, isn’t it rather brave to be reserved?

There are many other telling sites at which we may make our cross-section cut of the world.  With each question, at each cut, we begin to appreciate the enormous power of expression at our disposal inherent in all media.  The important feature in choice of media is not what medium we use but what statement we wish to make .  Then we may ask ourselves what substance to choose as our ally in saying what needs saying.

It would be useful to shift the association we make with the materials that artists employ from the static inventory of things inferred by the term art supplies to the more dynamic and intermediary qualities implied by the term media. Exploring the implications of this transposition further, we can say a number of things about how media serve expression.

Media are things that transform thought  into action.  All things when moved from the domain of thought to the physical domain exist in time, place, substance, and movement. Every medium therefore consists of these four qualities.  The basic character of each medium is determined by the degree to which each quality is exploited. It is important to note  that every medium has infinite potential in each category – time, place, substance, and movement.  And it is we who choose to manifest any one or more of its potential qualities and conversely to delimit the active expressive presence of others.

No More Secondhand Art – Awakening the Artist Within by Peter London

Art Quote for the Day

MEDIA IN THE SERVICE OF EXPRESSION

Before setting out to rummage through the mounds of art supplies stocked in our local art store, suppose we turn inward and tune our own equipment a bit. Before the salesperson asks us if it will be acrylic or gouache, or designer colors, or watercolors, or oils or tempera or casein, or inks, suppose we put some questions to ourselves about ourselves.

Before we make strategic decisions as to what material we “need”, we will do well to give thought to the match between what we want to say and our choice of an instrument through  which to convey that statement.  In other words, what alliances can we make with things in the world so as to enhance our power to transform products of the mind to products of the hand? The world at large is a vast jumble of things, the world of art only slightly less vast and jumbled. In this mad zoo, whose inhabitants alternately call to us and hide, we need somehow to find the correct fit between our purposes and the expressive power of each medium.  One way to accomplish this is to set up a temporary but useful classification system by slicing the world  into halves, each half revealing a telling cross-section.

Thus we can slice the entire universe of art things into a half consisting of things that are two-dimensional, planar, and one made up of all the rest, things that are three-dimensional, spatial.  We then have before us two distinctive piles.  In the planar pile of art media are paintings, drawings, prints, photographs. In the spatial pile are sculpture, gardens, and architecture.  We can also slice the world along the axis of wet and dry. In one pile we have gouache, inks, acrylics, oils, and watercolors, in the other pile we have pencils, charcoals, and pastels.  We can slice the world along other critical ways as well, and each time we do so , we reveal another display of the world’s dichotomies. Other sample cross-sections are organic/inorganic ( e.g., cherry-wood/core ten steel), color/tone, hard/soft, permanent/transitive, solitary/collaborative, mobile/stable.

Having cut the world in two, we can now proceed to test the fit between what we want and what the world (media) has to offer. In  the coming descriptions of several such halvings, the cross sections are examined more closely.  MORE NEXT TIME!