Leap Before You Look.

There’s a lot I could say about the transformation of a public utilitarian object into something better, into a unique work of art that should prompt joy in people if they notice it. Sure, there’s a risk that someone won’t like it, but that’s a risk every artist takes in making something. And it’s impossible to please everyone. Is there any work of art that everyone universally agrees is great? If there were there probably wouldn’t be that much to say about it because, well, if everyone agreed it was great there wouldn’t be that much to say about it. No one would feel a need to explain why it was great. And I don’t know about anyone else but that would really annoy me and the more I looked at it the more I’d hate it because of that.
Anyway there’s also a lot I could say about the simplicity of a line, the reduction of form and how a work of art can be so minimal and yet still recognizable. I could trace the history of it from cave paintings, which seem simple, all the way through the ancient Greeks’ understanding of geometry and perspective, the flattening of painting during the Middle Ages and the return of perspective in the Renaissance, the rise of trompe l’oeill painting, and the technological and social shifts that led to Impressionism and a million other -isms through the 20th century and the return to abstraction, all of which has been called by art historians “the story of art” even though it’s really only a very tiny sliver of the whole of human art history.
I could also say a lot about symbolism, slipping into signs and signifiers and semiotics and some high-falutin’ stuff about deconstruction and post-modernism and “reification” which, as I once pointed out to my literature criticism professor, is just a fancy way of saying “making a thing”, but that’s another story.
And if I knew the artist maybe I could say a lot about the inspiration behind the work, the motivation, the influences, and that could even lead me into a lengthy digression about how originality is an illusion and how every work is created in a context, but that every work is still also an individual’s vision.
Yeah, I could say all that, and it might prompt a lot of response. It might turn off a lot of people, or maybe make a lot of people happy. It’s hard to say. So I’m just going to skip all of that and jump right in.

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