Art has a language which reaches across national and linguistic borders and transcends place and time. Artists use their art to speak of beauty and destruction, life and death, hope and despair, war and peace, anger and calm, fear and openness, love and forgiveness. The language uses colour, form, light, shade, composition and abstraction to communicate with many people on many different levels. At its best a piece of art carries within itself the ability to speak directly to each person who sees it.
The image the artist creates reflects who they are, what they see and how they see and react to it. It is both a conscious reflection of the world they live in and a reflection of unconscious and undefined thoughts and feelings which creep into the work unnoticed, to be recognised later. At its best it touches the heart, perhaps tickles the funny-bone, nudges the conscience, yields more meaning the closer you look.
Each artist develops their own variation on art’s common language and uses it to reflect their own way of seeing and understanding the world they live in. These variations take root in knowledge and grow through experimentation to flower into expressions of great individuality, some of which are uncommonly beautiful, all of which take on a life of their own.
The world the artist reflects is multi-textured, multilayered, full of multiple meanings. The reflection each artist creates echoes back those textures, layers and meanings filtered through their own eyes and mind. The eyes that see that work bring their own layers of meaning to it. It all comes together in an ongoing dance of intent and perception involving artist, image and audience.
The dance between artist and audience does not end with the artist’s death, but continues down the years as long as their creation is there for others’ eyes to see and other minds to comprehend.
Picasso’s Guernica – an image of multiple meanings.
Picasso’s Guernica: Some thoughts about it’s meaning, from the Treasures of the World Series on PBS.