Monday, March 28, 2011

Woody on Aesthetic Appreciation - Shellie's Article

This passage, or chapter, was written by Jason Holt in a book called Woody Allen and Philosophy. Holt explains that in order for art to be aesthetically successful, there must be a balance of intellectual and emotional content. If a work is overly intellectual, it is reduced to intellectual jargon and contradictions among different viewers, which confuses and defeats the piece where it stands without allowing it to simply be enjoyed or appreciated. When a work is under-intellectualized, or rather overwrought with emotion, it tends to be lost in its own beauty with little to discriminate it from other works of its kind.

Personally, I think the balance is ideal, but it isn't the only way a piece can succeed aesthetically. In the world, there are billions of people with infinite discrepancies in taste. Some people only like art if it engages the mind, and they might have little to no interest in what it looks like or how emotionally devoid it happens to be. Others prefer pretty pictures and have little to no interest in the intellectual content. What might be more successful overall would certainly require a blend of both however, to better please both sides. Something smart and pleasing to look at, as well as evocative, is something I'd be interested in seeing. It's something I'm sure a lot of people would be pleased to see. But when it all comes down to it, I believe there are other matters that inform a work's success. Even if something speaks intellectually and evokes emotion, it may not appeal to someone who doesn't see eye to eye with the artist. It won't appeal to someone who has an aversion to a certain material, style, or message. Art is highly subjective, as is aesthetic appreciation. 

I'll just go on to answer the questions now:

1. I've never seen any of his movies or read any of his books to be honest. I know, I'm probably missing out on something big, but Woody Allen was never a part of my life. I mostly watched or maintained interest in whatever my parents would watch when I was a kid. I thought they had good taste so that's where I came in. Then into my teenage years and onward, I only recently started to become interested in older films. But going by the quotations on the chapter, which I'm guessing might even be the best base of reference, it does sound like these quotes are rather mocking of the contemporary art world in general. I'm not sure about us. We know each other and each other's work. We know what we're all doing, so we don't have to just assume we know the message--if we're not sure, we can ask. We don't have to resort to being over-intellectual with one another because it's easy to get the information straight from the horse's mouth. I will admit however, that in Sophomore year, or around that time, it was a lot less like the way it is now. People didn't know, people didn't want to explain, and therefore people had to make assumptions. I imagine Allen does it because it is silly to over-intellectualize something and walk away thinking you know all about it. It defeats the artwork if you get it all wrong and even if you're right you're just evoking debate from those who don't get it. 

2. Sometimes. I have to start by being excited about something, or I'll never do it, so at first I'm not faking it. It's when I've started, or it's been done before, or I've gone weary of working with the same message that I'll start to pretend I'm excited. I'll do it because I don't want my work to be weak all because I don't really care about it. I want it to have value despite how I feel. If it no longer appeals to me, it should be sellable at the very least.

3. I'm not sure. I thought my art wasn't very intellectual, but when I think about it, it has a bit. I always feel as if it needs to be more obvious--without being too obvious. I believe it gains more emotional appreciation at the moment, but I do like to get clever. I guess that's where it kicks in a little. Aesthetically, I'd say my art is decent. Not amazing but it's not shit either. Like the emotion and the intellect behind it, it always seems to me like it's missing something. Like it's a piece of a greater puzzle that I'm still trying to figure out. I wonder if others feel the same.

4. I care. I really, really do. I'm very particular about how it looks. I don't step back anymore, since I've been working smaller and most of the time on plates. I don't think it becomes any less intellectual. In fact, I do it to retain my personal aesthetic without changing the script or the message. In the end that's what really counts, but I believe the delivery should be just as strong.

5. It does when I think about why you make so many pictures of wetlands. I start to think you must love them enough to attempt to preserve them in your images. And then you sell the work and donate some of it towards wetland preservation. 

6. Er...maybe 7-8? And for yours, I'd have to say around 6-7. 

7. If I should guess, I'd have to say that you want to avoid the contradictions and confusion, as well as all the intellectual jargon that might get your true intent all wrong. 

8. I agree. It's soft and it's neutral-toned, as well as detailed and meditative. Those are all traits that promote relaxation.

I might have said enough about my work in relation to this article when answering Shellie's questions. I don't think it's intellectual enough just yet {I don't want it to be too intellectual, but I don't want it to be purely emotional} and I don't believe that the emotion is strong enough just yet either. I'm working on that. My latest piece might be my more successful attempt.

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