A&O – ART notes



ART[v] emphasizes an individual’s unique sensitivity[vi], creativity, and powers of representation.[vii]  As a field, art emphasizes intuition and the sensual, and is subject to all those weaknesses of one’s senses: (a) being notoriously vulnerable to illusion, confusion, and bias and (b) being of uncertain origin: that is, corresponding to systematic flaws of perception or something of purely internal origin such as imagery imposed on scotoma, visual migraine, or vivid memories evoked by ambiguous stimuli.[viii] Non-conscious knowledge (latent learning, intuition) is highly valued and is often recognized by spontaneity and impulsiveness.  Reality-testing of artists emphasizes CORRESPONDENCE between an idea or contents of one’s mind and an external representation.  COHERENCE is the complementary form of reality-testing in which the validity of one’s ideas or actions is corroborated by how well they “fit in” with other ideas of that individual or the ideas of others.  The validity of an artist’s actions or production may be provided by other people’s applause or silence as representative of their shared but ineffable feelings.


Art emerges from “making a stimulus special” (Dissanayake 1992[ix]) and functions best by identifying and representing the “essence” of a constellation of ideas—a selective attention to a key fragment that evokes a larger phenomenon, a focal idea that can be the attractor for many related ideas—the “seed” around which a constellation of related ideas forms.[x]  (Quoted from Greenberg et al 2017, The Art and Science of Teaching.) A stimulus is special because of the selective attention of the artist and the selective attention of the observer.  They necessary collaborate in every work of art/

Can we say that art has meaning? 

Mark Johnson (2007) states that “meaning is more than words and deeper than concepts” (p.1) and “Following Dewey, [he makes the case] that aesthetics must become the basis for any profound understanding of meaning and thought.  Aesthetics is properly an investigation of everything that goes into human meaning-making, and its traditional focus on the arts  stems primarily from the fact that arts are exemplary cases of consummated meaning.” (p.xi)   

At its best, there is a conjunction MEANING and WONDER  (van der Goor et al., 2017)