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rmehta's picture

I think I am abstractly

I think I am abstractly impaired.  It is not that I don’t like looking at abstract art such as those Pollock pieces we examined in class, but my negativity stems from extremely frustrated confusion.  When looking at abstract art I feel like I’m back in sixth grade, nodding along with the crowd when someone would finally figure out what picture you were supposed to be able to see in those Magic Eye books.  I thought if I crossed my eyes or turned my head a certain way I would see what everyone else was seeing. Sadly, I still only saw blobs.  Just as in this scenario, looking at abstract art makes me frustrated because I have this fear that my analysis will be incorrect; that by looking too deep to find something anew in the painting is not what the painter actually intended for the viewer to see.  Here in lies what I believe Sontag was saying in her critique on interpretation.  Each of us brings our own evolved stories to the front when we confront a painting.  Because of this, what we initially see is consciously different and rooted in different previously experienced histories.  So, in this sense, is our divergent evolution detrimental to our ability to interpret? If so, Sontag is correct is saying we should not rely “so much on questions about what elements in a work of art mean”.  However, I also see her argument of looking at functionality prone to personal interpretation.  How we perceive the elements in a work of art functioning seems to me to be another form of analysis and interpretation. Our experiences dictate our initial reactions and how we perceive the world around us; our personal evolution dictates our analytical abilities.  I don’t think we can ever escape our evolution when approaching interpretation. If this is “true”, can science never escape art and can art never escape science?


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