What is it, do you suppose? I like thinking about this idea and art in all of its varying manifestations. Dance is art, and music; poetry is art, and other forms of writing, too. But most of us, I think, when confronted with the notion of “art,” think of its visual form: that which might hang on a wall or sit on a tabletop, an intellectual and emotional feast for the eyes, something that speaks– or doesn’t– volumes with its silence.
For a long time, I have maintained a kind of hierarchy of art forms in my mind. Music sits at the top. I am not alone in this estimation: critics like Theodore Adorno held to this view, and I think the suggestion is that music evokes what it does using only our aural sense, requiring perception outside of the visual or verbal language that is our daily communication.
In all honesty, I don’t have subsequent levels clearly formed. In the following, nebulous strata, music without words would come before music with, and visual art and dance both would follow very nearly after music– I do know that. What is more, I am certain that verbal art should be at the bottom of that hierarchy. Poetry, of course, would come before prose, and all literary art would come before essays. But definitely, writing would be at the bottom.
Why? Because of what it doesn’t ask of the mind. Words require (duh) language, and by definition have, at some level, insistent, explicit meaning. And while a writer can and does work with the space around and between and in varying levels of meaning, he must, in the end, employ words, those wonderful and yet pedestrian tools, to make his art.
This blog, which was meant to be about my family, is also (have you noticed?) about words. I love them in all their manifestations, even to the extent of loving fonts and ink colors and the act of writing itself– I love the friction of a good pen on good paper. But there is, perhaps in the hands of some more than others, a kind of poverty in the art of language.
Do I mean what I’m saying? Because there’s this: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1 Maybe words are a bit more significant than I give them credit for….
Anyway, this post is meant to be about visual art, an opportunity to introduce here the blogs of some artists I know or have met, people who find their creativity in the visual. I hope you’ll take a look at each of them, add them to your favorites, and stop in again and again and again. Each of them is a feast for the eyes, and you won’t have to do near so much Reading.