Tuesday, 2 February 2016

What is Art Trying to Explain?

People have sought to entertain themselves probably since the first word was uttered. Cave drawings, goddess figures, and etched pots date back nearly 40,000 years. No one knows how these original works were perceived. Were they strategies to communicate, attempts to honor a primitive spirituality, or works designed for pure pleasure? Not knowing their true meaning, today we can only speculate why these drawings exist.

When people started to organize into social structures that required a sophisticated living order of the village or city we begin to see the evolution of games and sporting activities, as well as theatre and what many of us would consider art in the form of sculptors or paintings. This was about three thousand years ago. At this time written language was beginning to emerge and we can interrupt a clear attempt to entertain.

Greek mythology is an interesting combination of spirituality and art which may represent the earliest forms of fiction. The hierarchy of Olympus with the multi dynamic interpersonal relationships with the gods and their suspects play out an often comedic or tragic reality that reflects the psychology of life.

The arts seem to be in essence an imitation or interpretation of life, while games may reflect the struggle between good over evil, or tension of the social milieu the arts and entertainment have evolved to provide us with an interpretive guide to living life.

The basic structure of art and entertainment have remained constant even though the forms have altered over time. In the art resurgence of the renaissance it seems there was a calculated attempt to mirror life in the visual arts. Music was very deliberate and detailed. With the introduction of new scientific discoveries and technology evolved artistic expression to imitate life, seemed to adapt to these new influences.

It seems that although art in its ever expanding forms of expression, from visual, written, musical, or theatre may be loyal to its primary constructs but elastic in its ability to be expressed in new forms. As life itself evolves or reveals greater and greater levels of complexity, so do the arts and entertainment seek to define that which we struggle to comprehend, the unending mysteries of life and death, and the dance between the players. Why does he or she do this or that? Why is this so, or that so? Why or what makes that, or I wonder if? As we ponder to explain what we observe the artist will imitate the boundaries of these interpretations and reveal to us new discoveries and stories about it all, that will undoubtedly entertain us more and delight our spirits.

What new words or views will we explain through the arts? How will we define what we are to become? These questions are sure to be explored in the future expression of the artist. It may be that she reveals an answer but it is likely if she does, that answer will be debated as much as what those ancient stick figures meant way back when.