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Art & Culture

Art, Culture, Semantics – A Subjective Interpretation?

I attended Krislyn Dillard’s art show, Consumerism and the value of sustainable practices, held at the Deep Field Gallery in Portland, Oregon. Krislyn Dillard “is an abstract oil, acrylic and gouache painter inspired by nature and the search for the perfect form.” I have attended many art shows and do make a conscious effort to consistently manage my relationship with the arts. Before I arrived at the gallery, my goal was to stay a whole hour and really observe, analyze, and interpret her artwork.

To provide a brief synopsis of the work:

Today, we live in a world moving more and more into consumerism and leaving behind the idea of old fashioned, homemade items.  Along with these items being left behind are the skills needed to create them. In this generation, a growing dependency rises on those companies that now mass produce various items for wide spread consumption and inevitable waste manufacture or recycling.

This introspective look into society’s changing behavior with consumerism, health, agriculture, and the value of sustainable practices changing for convenience and its anthropological effects on our society are beautifully captured in Dillard’s compelling new series.

The social, economic, and political development and implementation of sustainable living is a rapid, innovative global movement. I found the interaction and anthropological expression of mass consumerism and sustainability compelling and artistically infusing. I have always found the communicative expression of art and culture transcendental. What I mean is that although there is an attributive explanation to the art piece and/or collection, the meaning is vastly interpretable. The semantic and semiotic message can be indefinitely expressed through various communication channels. In one example, the artist communicated her work using a projector, through a larger visual representation bringing the importance of the piece to the forefront. To me, the linguistic formation of the message was beautifully convoluted in a philosophical manner; however, I know talented, educated, artistic individuals who would communicate that piece quite differently. Why? Because of the subjective gaze.

I have not encompassed the art space and environment as long as the average artist. I have not undergone the same training and education as the artist. I do not possess the same communicative abilities as the artist. This is the maxim of great communication, once you have begun to master the art, despite the experience level of your audience, you are able to guide their understanding of your message.
The idea is that we experience everything differently and through systemic processes, we share our experiences by communicating through a multitude of channels. Within art and communication, varying degrees of dissonance will remain because of the subjective gaze; therefore, we are limited in what and how we communicate about a specific area, in this example art forms. However, we are interlinked through systemic processes. I felt a connection with the artist given we share similar views about sustainability and mass consumerism given their limited, definitive value and meaning. Subjective interpretation and meaning is what keeps every discipline, concept, ideology, movement, belief, etc. alive and prevalent. My general opinion of art shows will always remain dissonant to that of the talented artist, but I attend art shows because the limited, definitive description and semantic value of the artwork appeals to my shared beliefs and interests.

In conclusion, art and cultural expressions possess many semantic meanings and interpretations while still upholding a subjective dissonance. That is the beauty of art. Of cultural expression. Of communication.

For more information on the artist and her work: http://krislyndillard.wordpress.com/



2 thoughts on “Art, Culture, Semantics – A Subjective Interpretation?

  1. I’ve often thought about the current relationship with the mass produced and the handmade. Today we don’t just have consumerism, its anonymous consumerism. People have developed a taste for the mass produced. and they like it. The handmade seems too personal, making people uncomforatable.

    I had to stop telling people I meet casually that I do art. They’d ask me about it constantly and I felt like I was being turned into a tv set with legs. They would ask, “What projects are you working on?” then kick back and wait for the entertainment to start. They would hit the repeat button the next time I saw them. I was a soup can on an Andy Warhol print. 100 cans, all chicken noodle. With me it was conversations. 100 conversations, all me entertaining Joe Public about my art.

    When I opened a store selling my designs on cheap items like tee shirts, postcards, etc. these same people were no where to be found. They’d buy mass produced at big box, rather than support an artist they’d been hounding for years. This is why so many mom and pop specialty stores go bankrupt. People will pick their brain about their specialty, then turn around and buy an item at Wal Mart,

    Posted by susangeckle | August 6, 2012, 12:34 am

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