Blog: Art's Value Part 3

Christine Alfery

Posted on August 23 2019

Sisyphus-On-The-Beach-Sarasota by Christine Alfery

Featured image: Sisyphus At the Museum – Sarasota Circus Museum

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.  It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true and true science.  Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed.”  -Albert Einstein


In past blog posts I have talked about the self in art – finding yourself  as an artist and exposing it in your work. This is one of the fundamental values I place in the art that I create.  I have come to know that I love when something I did not plan on happens in my work. And my emotions say “oh that is beautiful. I think I will leave that section and the rest of the painting is planned around.”   One of the hardest things to do as the work progresses and changes is to cover up that one spot because it no longer works with the whole of the piece.  

The beautiful thing is that I was able to have that experience, to feel that emotion. But, and this is a big but, I don’t let that emotion control my work if no longer works in the piece.  I choose to either try and make the piece work around that mysterious place or I can choose to make the entire piece be as mysterious as that one spot was.

 The key value here is that I can choose.  I learned how to create the mysterious spot. It was a beautiful experience and I can choose to make the entire work just that mysterious.  I value choice and learning while working. I value the ability to personally choose, and not be stuck working around a small part that doesn’t work in the whole.  I value my personal ability to experience from the mysterious and move forward from it, not to get stuck in it. I value the satisfaction I felt in its original beauty.  I value the dissatisfaction I felt that it didn’t work in the piece as a whole. I value the personal ability to choose to change it. And I value the courage I had, because I could, change it. 

 In the process of art, the whole artwork relies on you and your ability to create it.  No one else’s, yours and yours alone. If you were to think of yourself as a work of art, then you would realize that it is all up to you to create who you personally want to be and you alone will change what needs to be changed, and cherish the mysterious.  No one else can create you, but you. In that sense everyone can be an artist. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to allow that in yourself? In the same way, artists value creating and choosing to change what makes them dissatisfied in their process of creating a work of art. 

I personally work on this in my art, and on myself.  I personally recognize that at times what I do is not best or satisfactory for the work of art, self, or which ever it is that I am concentrating on.  It hasn’t been my own personal choice. Art should always be about personal personal choices of the artist. If it is not, it can’t be about wonder and marvel and the mysterious.

Should the satisfaction and dissatisfaction of parts in our art making process rely on the insatiability of personal emotion or feelings our human nature?  Because human nature is insatiable, it should be our brain with it’s rational and philosophical abilities, not our nature that should determine whether the artwork has value or not. We need to respect our nature but it should not be the intermediary of the value of art. 

 Emotions and feelings in art have been around for a long time, but should it be the determiner as to whether a work has value?  Ask when you are creating a work of art, does this work have value? And if it does what kind of value does it have? Should the value be how much the art is worth, or should the value be what you can see and feel of the artist’s personal self in the work. 

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