Media and art for years now have sought to shock us and bombard us into paying attention. To rise above the noise and hype, artists and venues have resorted to what the many call “negative art,” using tactics that scare us into paying attention. Ads that show a burly thief breaking into your home, threatening your family, selling alarm systems. As a result, modern art often falls short.
Is that all there is? I have to ask, what is the role of art in our modern age?
Every day, we see so many images and messages, most persuading us to buy things or push their own concept of the ideal person. Fashion, beauty, youth, sex, violence and CSI, art today is so common because of the visual nature of media. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the advertising industry is cramming volumes of information into our frenzied, saturated heads. The intricacy, the complexity of what we see today in unrivaled in human history. Critics are quick to jump out and say, “that isn’t fine art”. Yet in a historical context, all of this information has overtaken us. Art, whether fine or common, abounds –images shouting at us at any given moment.
What then is the role of Art? Is it just to sell us?
I belong to a group of fine artists who have been grappling with this concept for over a decade. We are called the Blue Earth Society and formed in 1992 in Orlando, Florida. We believe fine art is about, Life.
Art can uplift, revitalize, inspire us to new heights. It can transform society and validate our community’s existence, leaving something behind for future generations. It can benefit us all and make a statement. With powrful art we have hope, we seek, we strive. The Blue Earth Society turns away from the dark side. Its artists band together and make art about life.
Art offers us a moment of respite, away from all the noise, or at least it can. Art offers hope, it can recharge our batteries, drained from the daily grind. A painting creates a world unto itself. Taking a moment to focus on its nuances, allows us to dwell in that world.
Art transcends language, culture, perceptions. It can connect on a deeper level directly to emotions. It can speak to our hearts, it can take us back to our childhood. Art can move us. It can wake us up.
We measure past societies by their art. It reveals much about a people. Their wants, their dreams and desires. It defines ages, it provides insight. If this is so, then what does our art reveal about our age? What does television, media, even what hangs in our local galleries and museums reveal about who we are as a people. What do we value?
Art to me is about a reaching, a yearning. Take a moment and step out of your busy work day. Breathe deep, take in some quiet reflection. It’ll do you good.