What is Art?

It’s a language for establishing a dialogue with the world, especially for picture thinkers and busy-handed tinkerers. Early in life you pick up crayons and paints and different kinds of art tools and begin exploring the way you see­­ images that resonate with your imagination. It all develops naturally, but if you set out fully on that path, and remain fully on that path, then states of mind and incidents of universal clarity are a natural part of it. That’s why artists don’t see like other people or think in the common way about theworld-around, because in the process, the world within your own head gets shaped and reshaped as you undergo a personal, cultural evolution of yourself through art practices. Eventually, or sometimes quite soon, you are able to communicate with the very armature of nature and its fundamental forces—or maybe it’s the other way around, your states of mind are receptive to a miraculous interpretation of thoughts and perceptions.

Peter Barton, “Velocet #2,” 2013. Wire cloth and acrylic enamel, 24 × 20”.

So in this way of tinkering, one thing leads to another, and eventually a visual vocabulary begins to evolve that is both compelling and unique to the individual persona. The intensity of this language and its ability to convey feelings and stir the imagination are what draw others into the conversation. This set of dynamics can cause a work of art to project its vitality through centuries or even millennia. A master like Matisse struggled his entire life and career trying to liberate color and space from the mimetic image or depiction of common things. His aim was to let color and light fly to the wind, a feat, the success of which has forever altered the way that modern eyes perceive everything that is life. In the same way, each practitioner of an art form sets out upon a journey of discovery and each successive discovery points the way to the next, linking time and propelling a cohesive and comprehensive vision. 

Contributor

Peter Barton

Peter Barton is best known for utilizing repurposed buildings in order to express artistic impulses that arise from experiencing architectural lines of force and the effects of light and space in the built environment. He has his studio practice in the 101 Art Collective building in Hudson, New York.

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