Monday, November 30, 2009

Art And Perception

It is opening night in the SomArts gallery and the covered walls are still fresh with the first round of energy and enthusiastic eyes that fill the large room. In one particular corner, at the far end of the gallery, are two small pictures covered in glass and surrounded by a thin wooden frame. The drawings speak for themselves, yet they do not have a mouth or tongue or voice. But they do speak clearly to those that see. To those that look with a second’s glance. They speak clearly to those that take in their shape and color and let the lines filter in through the layers of experience and mind and consciousness. They go in, turning and twisting, becoming new things in the subconscious of the viewer. They flow like smooth driftwood in the river of the mind, hitting stones and spinning wildly through tiny rapids. Art speaks through the interaction. Each new interpretation is a communication. It happens with each single person looking at it. Each person, who brings their own world understanding and luggage of signifiers and interprets the drawing in their own way. They don’t even have to think about it, the shapes move in like a quick fire, transmuting before the eye can blink. Just a single glance is needed, the mind does the rest, moving the shapes like a multidimensional Rubik’s Cube and spitting out dreams. And just like a river, the painting is never the same. On first glance, it looks like the same stagnant piece. The men look at the same two drawing as the other couple before them. The image hasn’t moved. There are still two penises, one shaped into a high heel shoe, the other creating the barrel of a gun. Moments later, when the two men leave, the drawings will stay in their corner of the gallery….only…something new will jump when a new set of eyes come to rest on them. It is the nature of art, alive in the perception of it. Born anew each moment through attention. The drawings on the wall switch from moment to moment, from person to person, from eye to mind. Art carries itself, rising up from a piece of paper like a flag blowing in the wind. It is the painting, the image and lines and color that talks without sounds and without a body. It speaks independently of the artist. The long forgotten hand and brush mean little any more. That hand was merely the vehicle for creation, the body for birth. Once finished, framed, hung…it changes. It moves. It talks. It gives over and over. A new meaning, a new word. From body to body, it changes.

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