Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
June M. Krutza
There is no universally accepted concept of the nature of art. Many are contented in believing that it is just some mystical quality. However, I believe that art is a basic human trait which has evolved over millions of years. This paper shall explain my own belief as to the evolution of art and how it is used by myself and other artists.
That which we believe to be true is a product of our individual experiences. In technology, religion, and in art there are no universal truths. All human beings percieve the world in different ways.
Two billion years ago conditions were such in the seas that life began. One billion, nine hundered and fifty million years later, thru countless mutations, was produced a small, tree-dwelling creature called a lemure. The lemure was the first to use sight when making value judgments as to who would make a good mate. This trait accelerated the rate at which its ancestors evolved into higher, more complex forms of life.
Two million years ago, one descendant of the lemure made rudimentary stone tools. I feel that this activity is the first sign of art. Man is aware of the future. His actions are not driven by his immediate environment, as animal actions are.
Men alone can imagine situations which are different from those in front of their eyes. They can do so because they make and hold in their minds images for absent things.
In the most general sence, art is the creative process man uses to solve problems. Whenever a problem appears that has no apparent solutions, or an inadequate one, man uses the power of imagination to invent solutions.
Any attempt one would make at strictly defining art would surely fail. The organized art world has always been in a state of change. Even a casual review at the history of art will reveal contrasting ideals.
More important than marveling at an existing work is the experimental and experiential process of creating new works. If you know exactly what you are going to do, what's the good of doing it?
The spectator involved with a work is just as much an artist as the producer of the object. For him the art work is only raw material he uses mentally in his imagination to produce images which are unique.
When society claims that something is of great value, or of little value, it is expressing a kind of popularity poll. As the society changes a given work will be judged differently.
A common thing to say when one finds value in an artist's work is that he has talent. Usually this expresses the success the artist has had at pleasing the viewer. Often, it is taken to mean some magical quality the artist is supposed to possess that enables him to produce art works. All men who are able to concieve a future and are capable of creating unique solutions to problems.
Every artist is involved in a never ending progression of attempts at new ideas. All human beings have the ability to invent new forms and should consciously do so. The result is a continual uplifting of the society of man.
Erickson, Robert, "A Philosophy of Art" (1977). Masters Theses. 3256.
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