Issue: What we say without words.


Art is a language. A language without rules or common indicators (though the mediators of Art for commerce or education may disagree with me). When art evokes feeling, it speaks. One of the things I grapple with as an artist is what I am saying through my art. Art needn’t be articulate. My dictionary tells me that the word articulate finds it’s origins in the 16th century from the Latin articulatus, the verb articulare, meaning to “divide into parts or utter distinctly”. Oddly enough I see art functioning this way. Taking life and re-routing it into smaller more distinct segments. Art is reinterpretation, sometimes in a convoluted manner. Always a distinct utterance for us to interpret. Do you see where I am going with this? A subject may be unclear, vague and inarticulate yet by evoking a response says something and by this function it articulates. Our chance for interpreting as the responders to art presents itself be means of  the written word or verbal dialogue. I know as an artist I must learn to explain more throughly through diction what mine and other’s art is saying and doing. Though I am certain too much gets lost in translation. There is only so much we can say.

(I have created the above montage to illustrate my point. Or rather, have written the above to define my illustration.)

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4 thoughts on “Issue: What we say without words.

  1. shannon says:

    Ugh! I hate that word. Articulate. I spent an entire semester (Sociology 101) dissecting that word and I was already done after “hello”.
    You’re right though, we can work forever at directing our audience to the precise location of our meaning but it matters little because their interpretation is what decides the meaning. Hmmmmm. Back to the drawing board.

  2. Patty Bilbro says:

    To me, talking about art is the same as making decisions based on our gut(or primal brain) and then going back and rationalizing that it was based on critical thinking.

  3. bpracticalpottery says:

    Shannon, you’ve pin pointed the breakdown of all communication. I say something, you hear something and who knows what we’re each thinking!

    Patty, I am looking at a jug on my counter right now. A beautiful woodfired thing I use several times a day. That is what you get for not having running water, plenty of jug use. It has the most perfect neck. A subtle line that curves inwards and up to the concave rim, it is perfect for its function and pleasing to the eye. Water does not pour out at earth shattering speeds nor does the inwards curve of the rim hold water back. The maker I am sure considered that line. Deliberated on the neck, asked why? Then in consideration on pure physical function and esthetics made the vessel. Perhaps in the making process we shouldn’t be asking why on the greater scale. It bogs down our instincts that certainly bypass our cerebral cortex. Perhaps the greater question of how that jug functions economically, culturally and socially, why it was made, ought be left in the library archived section on the maker’s brain and left out of the studio. What do you think? Is there an appropriate when and where for these questions or are they welcome everywhere?

  4. Patty Bilbro says:

    A goal for me is to ask more of those questions when I am not actively making and less of them when I am. I could challenge myself a little more when looking, asking and speaking about mine and other’s work. I think because I often feel like my previous answer (meaning making things up or rationalizing why) when talking about art, I tend to shy away from it. Because of this I welcome those questions from myself and others even if I do so begrudgingly in the moment.

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