I just finished watching a video at Khan University that discussed art and context. As an artist myself I generally am trying to accomplish one or more of a few things.
First is to accurately portray some object while at the same time catching the mood of the object in a way a photograph might not.
In some instances I am simply trying to create something that brings beauty to the fore.
Sometimes my paintings are absolute accidents, but once an accident starts to please me I try to build onto it and again draw out the beauty that is visible, at least to me.
When it comes to appreciating art I am always happy to share with people how my art came to be, what I think of a piece, what I was trying to do, etc. However the thing that I want from those who look at my art is to first and foremost determine how the piece makes them feel. The examples that were discussed in the video were Monet’s Cliff Walk at Pourville and Malevich’s White on White. In Monet’s piece it is easy to look at the piece and come to personal conclusions about what the painting represents, how it makes you feel personally, what you like or dislike about the painting. In the instance of Malevich’s painting it is much more difficult to come to those conclusions by just looking at it. Though you may easily decide if you like the piece, getting a feeling from it may be more difficult. So this is an instance where after looking at it, making some initial personal judgments, it is nice to get the history of the painting and the artist’s view on what it was they wanted to accomplish. Something that I would originally of viewed as, “Well I could do that!”, now offers more to think about. So here’s what I think: while I still stand by the belief that foremost in appreciating art is how the work makes the viewer feel, it is obvious that we can grow in our estimation of a piece by learning what the artist felt and thought and experienced at the time of their work.