Looking Out the Back by Elizabeth Barton
Just recently I had an email exchange with my friend Elizabeth Barton relating to personal aesthetic. Elizabeth is an artist who has been working with fabric for sometime and maintains an excellent blog where she writes about her thoughts on art and art making.
Elizabeth visited me recently and we discussed our attractions to complexity and/or simplification when composing a work. My work is abstract and generally utilizes large shapes with the detail coming from the quilting. Elizabeth often works from photographs and recognizable imagery with varying amounts of detail. We talked about how much information was desirable and the fact that with recognizable imagery, the minds eye wants to read certain things into the composition.
This conversation led to the both of us agreeing that we each had a specific way of working and that we both were sometimes attracted to work which is unlike what we do. Elizabeth posed the question: Is it possible to be attracted a particular approach to making art yet be unable to work in that way. Example: You might love very spare work or very intense work etc. that other artists make but when you make art, you find you are not happy with those elements.
This is actually a concept of which I have been aware for sometime. There are artists whose work I adore and who perhaps work very differently from me. When I attempt to work in a manner similar to another person, my aesthetic is not satisfied. I don't totally understand this duality but I think we build our 'eye' through observation and study and by being open to many different kinds of art experience.
I did a tiny search for information on this duality of aesthetic and didn't find anything but I did find some good information about learning to build your personal aesthetic.
This first link is to an excellent article by Ronald H. Silverman, Ed.D., Professor Emeritus of Art, California State University, Los Angeles. Dr. Silverman discusses the components of looking at art and how this feeds into building and understand your aesthetic. It is well written and easy to read and follow.
The second link is from The Warhol. This link is to the Warhol Museum and their resource pages. If there are any of you who are teachers, they have some excellent lesson plans and powerpoint programs which are are available and I believe they are free.
I would love to hear any comments about building personal aesthetic as I know I have some readers who have very well developed aesthetics.