Art Response

Choose a painting or other work of art from the collection online at the Clark. Here is the URL:

http://www.clarkart.edu/museum/Collections

Scroll down on the left column to find the collection that you want.

Write about 2 pages on how you personally are “seeing” this work by referring to at least 3 quotes from our ART NOTES in the previous unit. Give the title and artist and attach a copy of the work if you can.

READ THIS: Art Notes

SOME IDEAS TO CONSIDER AS YOU VIEW ART – by Constance Berman, Ph.D.

There are ways of “seeing” that you might think about for yourself.

In an interesting book, Ways of Seeing, the art critic, John Berger, brings up some controversial ideas about what art is and how to respond to it.

Berger suggests that “seeing” is primal. We see before we talk. Yet what we see actually is affected by what we know or what we believe. So, according to Berger, there is a gap between seeing and knowing. We seem to always look at the relation to a thing and ourselves rather than just at the thing itself, he says. Therefore, every “image” embodies a “way of seeing” because it was depicted by choice of subject, choice of technique, etc.

Berger reminds us that the “world” contains more than “pure fact”. It includes “consciousness”. So we are always interpreting what we see, even as artists interpret what they “see”.


Another way of looking at traditional art is proposed in the following suggestion on viewing art. Keep both of these ideas in mind as you view art selections in the course.

VIEWING A WORK OF ART: A REFLECTION ON WHAT ART TELLS US ABOUT THE HUMAN CONDITION

ART MAY EMBODY SOME OR ALL OF THESE TRAITS:
*The power of “suggestion” and “imagination”

*The role of the “collective imagination”

*The role of the “memory trigger”

*The role of “emotion” in the “story”

A work of art can “suggest” to the viewer through color, technique, what is left out, as well as what is included in the composition.

The role of the “collective imagination” is a theory of Carl Jung. Simply stated, Jung suggests that all humans across time and geography have dreams or responses to stimuli that are similar. For instance, we have an innate fear of falling, fear of the dark, attraction to light and beauty, etc. Therefore, we are likely to be responsive to symbols or dreams in similar ways and CONNECTED to each other because of this phenomenon.

The “memory trigger” as one art critic reflects, is that in a work of art that strikes a chord in us, makes us feel that we too have had a similar experience as the one depicted OR that we understand what is meant because of our own experience. For instance, we may have seen a “patch of snow” amid the spring grass and rejoiced that winter is almost over. When the poet Robert Frost uses the image of a little “patch” of snow, we know what he is talking about and how he feels.

The “emotion” in a representational work can be suggested both by the subjects as well as the colors, lighting, technique and composition. If the artist is a genius, the emotions may be complex and arise in the viewer without mere analysis, but also on some intuitive level. Emotions free range –joy, sadness, horror, awe, doubt, sensual pleasure, recoil, etc.

Think about some of these “ways of seeing” and “interpreting” a piece of art.

READ THIS: Art Notes

SOME IDEAS TO CONSIDER AS YOU VIEW ART – by Constance Berman, Ph.D.

There are ways of “seeing” that you might think about for yourself.

In an interesting book, Ways of Seeing, the art critic, John Berger, brings up some controversial ideas about what art is and how to respond to it.

Berger suggests that “seeing” is primal. We see before we talk. Yet what we see actually is affected by what we know or what we believe. So, according to Berger, there is a gap between seeing and knowing. We seem to always look at the relation to a thing and ourselves rather than just at the thing itself, he says. Therefore, every “image” embodies a “way of seeing” because it was depicted by choice of subject, choice of technique, etc.

Berger reminds us that the “world” contains more than “pure fact”. It includes “consciousness”. So we are always interpreting what we see, even as artists interpret what they “see”.


Another way of looking at traditional art is proposed in the following suggestion on viewing art. Keep both of these ideas in mind as you view art selections in the course.

VIEWING A WORK OF ART: A REFLECTION ON WHAT ART TELLS US ABOUT THE HUMAN CONDITION

ART MAY EMBODY SOME OR ALL OF THESE TRAITS:
*The power of “suggestion” and “imagination”

*The role of the “collective imagination”

*The role of the “memory trigger”

*The role of “emotion” in the “story”

A work of art can “suggest” to the viewer through color, technique, what is left out,

Sample Solution

ACED ESSAYS