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  #1  
Old 10-21-2009, 08:31 PM
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evaldart evaldart is offline
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"Meaning" what does that mean?

As artists we are better than thinkers, because we are DO-ers. That said, WHAT is it that constitutes "meaning" in aesthetic ventures? Is meaning necessary at all? Or is it simply the same old thing that attaches individuals to each other by the frayed wires of "communication". I DO believe in meaning, though. Not the kind that wishes for data, answers and solutions; but the kind that takes the shape of attainment. Knowledge is the shorthand of perception. Aesthetics, on the other hand is bigger. It permits us all to be better perceivers without the limitations of language and communication. Interpretations will, of course, abound as these efforts make their way out amongst other perceivers...and they will vary maximally. The most relevent thing an artifact of a real creative effort can permit is an unexpected view into another intellect's home run. As a spectator...you must be advanced enough to ask the right things of what goes into the eyeholes. Most of it is just information..."watch out for that bus!" but some of it is an unintended window into another perceiver's momentum... VERY valuable. The trained and choosy eye will find this without being spoon-fed by Mommy (rationale, reason, logic, analysis, common sense). Me, Sometimes I still need Mommy; but I'm getting better...growing up in increments.

So lets start there...what is "meaning" as it befits the real, finest of the fine, ART?

Last edited by evaldart : 10-21-2009 at 10:32 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-21-2009, 09:49 PM
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Aaron Schroeder Aaron Schroeder is offline
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

" What I meant to say " ....." What I mean is "....." Do you know what I mean ?"
Meaning seems to be the content behind the communication which is always distorted in translation from one mind to the next because all minds as similar as they are.....are always different and unique.

People get frustrated trying to communicate with each other , so they seek help to vivify the content of their discourse. They either get handy themselves or establish a relationship with some one who can get handy for them. The result ......fresh, enhanced focus on a topic/subject. Sometimes, this activity get priority and the finest of the fine art is created. Details.
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  #3  
Old 10-21-2009, 10:55 PM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

Every piece of art says something.......most folks just don't want to listen. That would mean....getting involved. Complications.
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  #4  
Old 10-21-2009, 10:59 PM
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evaldart evaldart is offline
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

Well my wife is sure sick and tired of the carbon footprints I drag into the house...and "thoughtless" might be one of the words that gets used during the ensuing ass-chewing (the others arent forum friendly).
It wasnt that long ago, O, that you were waving the Geometric Abstraction flag. And I perked up, because you said something about that being a place for mature , later in life sculptural efforts in steel. Definitely made sense to me. I forgot to ask you what "meaning" you thought there was in that brand of work. I've since done much thinking about it and do look forward to those days of deformed cubes and anti-spheroids. But I dont imagine that that work says "SOMETHING" in the way you are demanding presently. Have you changed your tune (its quite allright)? What is this 'something" Art can say that will save the entire Earth which you suddenly seem so concerned over.

Remember now...its a thread that is discussing the issue of "meaning" as it is applied within aesthetics.

Give us more than a couple of angry sentences.
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  #5  
Old 10-21-2009, 11:50 PM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

Meanings and criticisms are for the viewer, a piece needs to be able play with the big kids without crying.

I have my own criticisms/meanings that I apply while viewing my own Frankensteins but your meanings or mine are meaningless once the meaning lives in the eyes of the preloaded viewer.
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  #6  
Old 10-22-2009, 07:28 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

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Originally Posted by craigktx View Post
Meanings and criticisms are for the viewer, a piece needs to be able play with the big kids without crying.

I have my own criticisms/meanings that I apply while viewing my own Frankensteins but your meanings or mine are meaningless once the meaning lives in the eyes of the preloaded viewer.
Very true Craig...especially the part about viewers being "pre-loaded". I like that wording. It is doubtless that different folks get different things from a work of Art; possibly and probably not at all what the artist intended. And this is a result of intellectual predispositions (or a lack thereof). So, is it important at all that an artist wish to control the viewer's experieces? Is that an exercise in futility? Aimed "meanings" will hit some and miss others. Better to keep the meaning all for yourself...then put out the artifact and let it radiate as you simply continue your progress on the next one.

And also it is quite the case that every creative effort is different than the ones that came before it (regarding by definition a creative effort as a unique occurence). In this case, for the creator, meaning is simply noted and internalized by the consciousness, skipping the tedious dilution of translation into language.

So in this case isnt it quite allright to accept the answer from an artist to the question "What is the meaning of this piece?"
"I dunno. I just did it." he says with a shrug and a raise of the brows.

Now THAT could not be MY answer because I find crumbs of relevence in banter, blather and verbal exchange (another weakness). But I cannot presume, from that short summation that the artist is not making great personal leaps from one piece to the next. I will simply do my job as a viewer, experience the piece to the best of my ability and hope to gain a glimpse of whatever it was that made the thing worthy to its maker (knowing full well that disappointment and deflation are often the result of such a gander). But nothing ventured, nothing gained, right. And I've always got the time.

Last edited by evaldart : 10-22-2009 at 08:00 AM.
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  #7  
Old 10-22-2009, 08:59 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

I tend to start my work with an idea or "meaning" that I want to communicate, and then do whatever it takes to get there. I did not realize until finding this forum that there are some other artists who don't do this at all, or further still, are willing to think that communicating an idea is something to be looked down upon as less "pure" than just being a channel for whatever impulses grab them to fabricate something.
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  #8  
Old 10-22-2009, 09:22 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

It takes all kinds I suppose. Meaning that WHATEVER it is that prompts an individual to begin the action that IS the creative process is 100% valid. So for you Glenn, the "communication" is a part of the intellectual preparation or a preliminary device that eventually manifests itself as your hands moving over clay with the intent of controlling your medium by pushing and prodding it into submission (final submission being hopefully different and better than that little plan that set things going). And you choose to find it important to retain the communicative nature of your original idea and exhibit your artifact still attached to that idea. It is argueable everafter though whether or not your artifact actually addresses what you say it does...because of the afformentioned "preloaded-ness" of other individuals. But that should not/CANNOT be of concern lest you end up contaminating your process by impossible hopes of everyone "getting it". This thread should not deteriorate into a representation vs abstraction arguement because "Meaning" is way bigger than both of those. A bowl of fruit, a mathematical formula or a vaguely choreographed physical encounter may ALL yield the same levels of visual relevence. Its always about medium, form and process (THAT is where an artist is making gains) - gains that come from the "completed" artifact resonate in other places...places that are NOT the place where Art is happening.

And we must always be careful to separate events from mere occurences.
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  #9  
Old 10-22-2009, 09:58 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

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Originally Posted by evaldart View Post
(final submission being hopefully different and better than that little plan that set things going).
As Daniel Burnham once said, "Make no little plans".

Rather than start with little plans, I start with big plans, and hope that I am worthy of accomplishing them, rather than expecting my puny human ego is more significant than a timeless, universal idea. Is the little bit of artifact that I produce more relevant to art than those concepts? Perhaps, but man and his artifacts come and go, life continues.
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  #10  
Old 10-22-2009, 10:15 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

Glenn, now I dare say that some of the pieces you have shown us here are far more valuable as example of your particular take on figuration in general, and by extension, your formal decision making and your relationship to your process. The fact that they were set in motion to represent a saint or an angel seems of far less consequesnce. In fact, without a title, its likely that no one else woulf know where, historically, the idea came from.
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  #11  
Old 10-22-2009, 11:01 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

"meaning" is a very non real function

adapting itself to the whims of the day

an academic murmur filtered through meaninglessness

voiced by knaves to make trap for fools

if the art has a strong enough voice you'll never wonder

"what does this mean?"
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  #12  
Old 10-22-2009, 11:20 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

For many "meaning" means an "idea" that can be put in to words, as if words, or ideas are the only building blocks of meaning. Form is meaning. Texture, color, beauty are meaning. For artists, meaning is a visual thing, and only sometimes is verbally translatable. If a work can be reduced (i.e., "explained") to a few words, then it holds less interest than something that leaves you speechless, and yet fascinated. If there were not all kinds of meanings, expressions would have a boring continuity(except for the subjective fantasies of viewers ). So dig this. A work has a kind of meaning when it looks done, no matter what the style or approach. We humans somehow understand the "done" meaning thing, even if we don't like or don't understand other meanings. Meaning is what activates the synapses. Some things do it better, i.e. stimulate more neurons, activate the pleasure centers, gratify and sustain personal bias/beliefs, or open new ways of experiencing life, if only via cerebral or visual encounters with globs of paint, pieces of metal, or fragments of stone reduced from rocks and boulders. Think too about the enormous of power social meanings like status, fame, cost, or the biochemical meanings from physical attributes like large sexual appendages. There is way too much meaning out there. The trick is ....managing it.
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  #13  
Old 10-22-2009, 11:26 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

I'm courious-if a piece of art is to have meaning who should be putting it in the work? The viewer or the artist.
It would be interesting to know how most artists think.
For my vote I would say it's the artist who should do it.
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  #14  
Old 10-22-2009, 11:27 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPRINGFIELD View Post
I'm courious-if a piece of art is to have meaning who should be putting it in the work? The viewer or the artist.
It would be interesting to know how most artists think.
For my vote I would say it's the artist who should do it.

Most certainly the artist.. The viewer is merely coincidental.
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  #15  
Old 10-22-2009, 11:39 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

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Most certainly the artist.. The viewer is merely coincidental.
Thanks StevenW that makes two for the artist none for the viewer. I decided to start a thread in the Polls section. It sure would be interesting to see how the vote goes.
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  #16  
Old 10-22-2009, 11:48 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

Guilty of thinking too much, and being incapable of giving a simple answer this really highlights the problem.
In the process of attaching or divining meaning to my work and testing its communicability, I sometimes learn something new, and the meaning changes for me in process, even if the piece does not. If you're sticking to universal meaning, you're either limiting your "language" or not bothering to recognize additional depth and alternate meaning.

And I think it's important to recognize the difference between ego and spirit/ life-force. Being enthusiastic about your work is not ego, it's a reason to get up in the morning. If you continue to dwell upon finished work as opposed to using it as a springboard, then there's an ego issue.
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Old 10-22-2009, 11:59 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

evaldart, whether I am depicting a saint, an angel, or some other figure known or unknown, their name and label are not what I refer to as the meaning or concept. What matters to me is what quality of God or quality of soul they are expressing. If it an historical figure, I am trying to meditate on how best to sum up in one gesture and expression a lifetime's worth of meaning that said person put into motion by their interaction with life.
It is actually a daunting task, requiring a certain amount of self-confident audacity to believe justice can be done by doing so.

All the muscle strain you put into bending metal to achieve your will can be compared to the physical, mental and emotional effort of trying to turn inanimate clay, wax, or bronze into something that will speak the thoughts and emotions that have been decided upon for the artwork. My bias would be to say that this is more of an effort than soley the physical manipulation of material.

From the sense of art seperated from content, the aesthetic sense that I have, the way I believe form should look when expressed through my hands, is very important to me as well, but still I see that as my gift of service in the greater cause of communicating the idea, hoping to do it as well as possible.
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Old 10-22-2009, 12:10 PM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

The problem with the spectacle of my particular process is that folks get caught up in the physical side. In fact, the things going on inside the walnut are indeed easily as laborious and risky. There is both powerful confidence and desperate anxiety in the decisions being made while I am arriving at exactly the "right" form through my process. The violence of the act often doesnt appear in the artifact. Mostly, folks find them silky, friendly and fluttering upon the initial view (I've many collectors who are little old ladies). It is only incidental that my process looks different than yours - my medium makes me do it that way; the things I want to see cannot happen any other way. So give big galoot a break, I can think a little bit too.
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Old 10-22-2009, 12:45 PM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

I saw a poster for the premiere of Pete Postlethwaite's new movie, "The Age of Stupid" while in DC last week. The title alone sums it all up.
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Old 10-22-2009, 12:47 PM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

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Originally Posted by evaldart View Post
The problem with the spectacle of my particular process is that folks get caught up in the physical side. In fact, the things going on inside the walnut are indeed easily as laborious and risky. There is both powerful confidence and desperate anxiety in the decisions being made while I am arriving at exactly the "right" form through my process. The violence of the act often doesnt appear in the artifact. Mostly, folks find them silky, friendly and fluttering upon the initial view (I've many collectors who are little old ladies). It is only incidental that my process looks different than yours - my medium makes me do it that way; the things I want to see cannot happen any other way. So give big galoot a break, I can think a little bit too.
sounds like your fluttering, feminine side is a lot like childbirth.

Quote:
I saw a poster for the premiere of Pete Postlethwaite's new movie, "The Age of Stupid" while in DC last week. The title alone sums it all up.
It's evident to me that "stupid" is ageless.
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Old 10-22-2009, 12:56 PM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

Stupidity is ageless but we live in a time where stupid reigns. Any d-hole can crap out dumbness all over the internet and use un-Godly amounts of gas, electric, and material to insult the environment with piles of twisted ego monuments then purport it as art and convince more holders of the un-magical stupid gene that it's great art.
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Old 10-22-2009, 12:59 PM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

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Stupidity is ageless but we live in a time where stupid reigns. Any d-hole can crap out dumbness all over the internet and use un-Godly amounts of gas, electric, and material to insult the environment with piles of twisted ego monuments then purport it as art and convince more holders of the un-magical stupid gene that it's great art.
Okay, so what do you suggest as an alternative to that gaseous expulsion?
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Old 10-22-2009, 01:02 PM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

Glenn, Oscar stole your term "Age of Stupidity" a classic GlennT zinger. He cant do that. Intellectual property baby. I'd sue if I were you.
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  #24  
Old 10-22-2009, 01:03 PM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

Thought + action = art
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  #25  
Old 10-22-2009, 01:05 PM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

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Thought + action = art
No, thought plus action equals mowing the lawn, or cleaning out the cat-box. To get to art there are a few other things in the equation.
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