August 17, 2016

Favorite Quotes #13 - What is Art

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.
Edgar Degas

I found this quote in just about the most difficult spot ever to photograph!  It's on an overhang, with a brightly lit ceiling just beyond and a dark tall wall above....  But I loved it.  And I love that it's in a high school, seen by budding artists every day.

I do think successful art has two parts:  first, a sharing of what the artist sees (in the broader sense of feels and experiences), and second, what that touches and brings forth in the viewers' sensations and inner knowledge. That's why good art feels timeless and magical.

Here are two favorite stories:

With One Voice - 2002 - 33" x 33"

For as long as I can remember, I've been fascinated by the idea of "drawing" with pattern or texture instead of outlines, and was exploring that concept with this quilt. The large flower is created with lots of smaller flowers lightly stitched into place and then covered by a piece of tulle and secured with machine quilting.  The title was found, as many of my quilt titles are, in the thesaurus, in the list of synonyms for "unison".

The story:  The quilt was hanging at the annual fiber show held at the Botanic Garden.  A young friend, just starting her vocal music career, had gone up to the garden to walk and clear her head prior to a big audition, and wandered into the fiber show by chance.  Not only did the title catch her eye, but then she read that it was made by someone she knew!  She called me right away to say how much inspiration and joy the whole synchronous experience had given her.  

Here's another story:
Nature's Perspective - 1989 - 107" x 81"
The concept of a quilted farmland came to me while driving home through Wisconsin at dusk.  When our friend Jon saw the work-in-progress, he commented that for him the design perfectly represented the way he sees landscapes - the sky's smoothness (uniform diamonds) against the land's textures (the patchwork blocks.) 

I wrote about this quilt in Favorite Quotes #10, where you can read the full story including the process of design and construction of the quilt.

The story touched me so unexpectedly and deeply that it is constantly with me to this day.  Not only is it still the basis for my answer to the perennial question "What is art?", but I look at the world differently myself now, a little view through someone else's eyes.  In other words, art can create a reciprocal exchange of what both the artist and viewer see.

No comments:

Post a Comment