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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Found Art: Conversations?

My Pinterest collection of black and white abstract art is boringly named "Art--Bold--Black and White".  At around 800 pins, it is embarrassingly vast, which is a story for another day.  The assemblage of smart, tantalizing works feels oddly serene, pressed together into ranks, marching neatly up and down across my screens. 

In that the commonality among them is the contrast and conversation between black and white, it occurred to me that the plural noun for the group might be "A Conversation of Black and White Abstracts".  I would even congratulate myself on my cleverness by renaming the Board, if I didn't need to maintain such a perfect nomenclature system in order to keep control of my Frenzy of Pinterest Boards! ( 260!...  and counting!...  Yikes!)

But there is another reason I might consider renaming the Board.  Don't we often say, when gazing at a gorgeous piece of artwork, "It speaks to me!"  Can't art be a conversation, if one defines art as "a statement that an artist intentionally makes, in an original / unique way", or "a way that an artist expresses (tells about) himself"?  I am wondering out loud here, realizing that these definitions would depend upon the intention of the artist, and his art process.  I also see that a statement is not the same as a two-way conversation.  However, art is meant to be experienced, and interacted with, so, I am theorizing that our response to an art statement constitutes at least the beginnings of a conversation.

Among the pins on that Board, recently re-posted so you can easily find it in the collection, you will find the following image:

At first glance I thought it to be an original image created upon some unusual contemporary ground, perhaps an etching on aluminum.  But no, it is a photo: the Whirlpool Cloud, a photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video.  It is a favorite image, emoting chaos in motion and gentle sensitivity, all at once.  It makes me think of God's holiness: wrath tempered by mercy. 

To continue my bloggish question above, is this image a conversation? And to take it one step further, if the art we are conversing with is "found art", then who are we conversing with?  For pondering this question, here is another abstract black and white artwork:
A Montage of Wind Activity in America on July 28, 2012, by Lorie Klahn
I created this found-art triptych from this Wind Map website.  I was so taken with the gracefulness and artful dance of the wind activity lines, and how they fluidly compose themselves in such pleasing, affecting and dimensional ways, that I felt compelled to somehow capture the experience.  By looking through the Wind Map website archives and choosing what looked like a day with interesting lines, I zoomed in, took a screenshot, cropped away the kerfuffle, and fiddled ever so slightly with the contrast, times three, and quickly had a trio to collage.  But truth be told I played on this sight for at least an hour, with rapt fascination. How could airstreams be so hypnotizing...  so beautiful   ...such a profound statement?

Within my personal basis of belief, the answer is, that because it is made intentionaly by the Inventor of Art Himself, found art is the truest of true art: His self-expressions, messages to us, conversations with us, placed everywhere for us to find, like a grand Easter Egg Hunt.  He wants to take our breath away!  He wants us to know Him and converse with Him by what we see in His creation.
For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind,
and declares to man what is his thought,
who makes the morning darkness,
and treads on the heights of the earth—
the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name! 
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?

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