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Opinion | Reflection on the role of artistic expression, construction in the human world

By Anthony Santora
On November 12, 2012

Little has done more for the human perspective then the creation and sharing of artistic expressions.

The arts have offered both an outlet for creativity and imagination and have provided a commentary on social, political and cultural ideologies since their inception.

With Miami University's "Year of the Arts" project come and gone, it is prudent to reflect and to attempt to understand both the importance of art and its impact in our world.

To understand the concept of art and artistic expression, it is imperative to understand two things. First is the relationship between the artist and his/her work, or more precisely how that work is originated. The second falls on the execution of the artistic work through medium expression.

Art is not a naturally occurring phenomenon, but rather a constructed element.

The artist constructs the piece, making it physically present, and therefore is seen as the sole origin of that work. However, within this ideology we see only a small singular portion of the artwork's total essence: the physical.

As the artist is the sole creator of the work, it is only natural that the piece reflects the natural composition of the artist. The creation is a reflection of our inherent nature. Having said that, humanity is not a singular construction of physical presence, but rather cohesion of both material being and immaterial thought.

Thus, we must look deeper into the origin of the artwork as a reflection of greater consequence, one where the immaterial fuels the actions of the artists.

The source of passion, if it were.

In searching for this deeper origin, the origin of artistic passion, we ultimately are searching for the meaning contained within ourselves.

Thus, the origin of art becomes the origin of human composition, where meaning is the construct of our core being.

In this construction, experience takes frontal stage as it provides the basis for all interaction, both internal and external, which drives the ascertaining of meaning.

It is then that experience lies at the origin of artistic expression; or rather artistic expression becomes a reflection of the artist's experience.

This link between the artist's experience and their work leads directly to the mode of expression through available medium.

The feelings generated by an experience, what is ultimately sought to be captured within the piece, lend themselves to better representation through various distinct mediums.

For instance, the three-dimensional qualities of sculpture are better at conveying singular spatial awareness then two-dimensional representations; where the sculpture is about an element in strict physical relationship to space and viewer.

However, that same two-dimensional piece provides a greater depth of layering not afforded to the sculpture.

This enhances the composition of totality of space within the frame, and adds a level of depth that transcends the simple physicalities of space, but instead creates an element of atmosphere.

Likewise, the same two-dimensional work will convey two different things when executed with two different methods.

A watercolor painting will play colors off one another layering the atmosphere into an almost surreal understanding of the space. While a charcoal drawing of the same scene will stress the contrast between two elements, light and dark; providing a dichotomy and dialogue that is clearer then the watercolor version.

With each medium containing specialized attributes to the artistic piece, the medium becomes equally as important as the inner experiences, which look to be constructed upon it. Thus a symbiosis of the two equal elements emerges, and it is in this the careful execution and pairing of inner feeling and outer creation where the artist becomes vital.

In this creation the artist now becomes the medium between two worlds, one physical and the other immaterial. As this medium the artist now holds a unique place within the universal fabric of the world.

This place is one where he/she transcends the simple animalistic being of the organisms that surround him/her and instead become creators of personal internalized worlds.

Now, you are probably saying "What does this have to do with the way that art has influenced the world?" and you would be fair to ask that.

In taking the detour through the origins of artistic expression and the mode of expression we see a fundamental aspect emerge, the reflection of humanistic capacity.

As a tool for reflection on societal norms, art offers a critique based on human perspective. It also serves as a means of providing idyllic responses to that same perspective.

Art becomes the embodiment of where humanity stands and where we want to go.

In this way art is able to influence the outcomes and generate the progression of human societal evolution through a simultaneous cohesion of past, present and future based ultimately in the human condition.

It is through experience that we live, and through art that experiences are given life. The life given to those feelings and moments of experience have greater power then we realize. This power is able to shape the destiny of mankind, and propel us into a greater existence.

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