Island Dreamin’ by T
What is art? every now and then i find myself posing such questions of a dangerously philosophical nature. The danger being that people will get that blank filmy look in their eyes and try to edge away from me in a sideways direction when i speak thus. This is why i have a blog.
‘All art is quite useless’ said Oscar Wilde, presumably right before he wrote ‘A Picture of Dorian Gray’. Where, as anyone who has read it or watched the movie (pfft, you watched the movie?!) will know, a work of art did come extremely in handy to a certain Mr. Dorain Gray. But to the rest of us who do not immerse ourselves in black magic, what is the point of art?
Take this rather fetching painting. This painting reminds me of Jungle Beach back in Galle. So i sit and stare at it. But the colors are wrong. The lines are too mathematically verticle. Water is only that color in swimming pools. In ways, this painting is as far away from the Jungle Beach iv seen as the concepts of integrity are to most modern Sri Lankan politicians.
But in other ways it makes a sense of familiarity wash over me. The greenery, the small stretch of sand caught between steep cliff and deep sea. The rock and cosy pathways leading down to the beach from a cut in the mountains. I can remember it all quite well when looking at this painting.
Its strange. So art draws me to the real while displaying only a depiction of it. Art is an exaction of cousciousness on what we usually define as reality. Art, tightly defined, is not art. Art exists in that fringe at the edge of your eyes. And like a man wandering the forests in the night looking out for lions (this might seem like a dubious metaphor till you watch ‘Man Vs. Wild; African Savannah’), your best chances of seeing art is by observing it from the edge of your vision so to speak. Looking at it directly and trying to define it through your rational axioms of reasoning will only render art meaningless.
I think art is undefinable, and that is mostly how you define it. Nature and reality as we see it is probably only a product of our minds. And nature as it exists objectively is probably colored so much by our subjective perceptions of it as to render it almost completely distorted.
Take a fly. How it sees the world is how you would see it of you looked through a kaliedascope all your life. Dogs, are attuned to hearing different things. Lizards can see in two different directions at the same time, probably creating some depth perception problems but still. These creatures’ senses are only adapted to their needs. We humans would be arrogant to assume we percieve objective reality in its pure form.
Take a fly. Now imagine you’re the fly.