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Old 12-08-2004, 05:33 AM
King Rundzap's Avatar
King Rundzap King Rundzap is offline
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"Debate" spurred by Johannes Landscape Composition Article

For context, this thread was catalyzed by posts #43 - 47 of this thread: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show...9&page=1&pp=40

Originally Posted by dudleyd
King Rudzap,
If I understand you correctly, your anology just does not work.

I don't think you are "understanding me correctly".

Dale Carnagie Institute has made millions teaching communication skills to an industry interested in teaching its employee's to communicate better and increase productivity in a economic sense.

The analogy is presenting a scenario with some very specific conditions. One condition is that the person listening to Frank thinks that Frank's conversational skills are good. The other condition is that someone else enters the picture and says, "No, they're not good", and proceeds to present some seemingly arbitrary conditions that Frank's speech is not meeting.

The analogy had nothing to do with situations where the person listening to Frank thinks that Frank could use some improvement in his conversational skills, where the suggestions do not seem arbitrary, etc.

Comedians perfect through hard work and goal setting the composition and delivery of thier craft. To an audience that is very particular.

People work on comedy in various ways, yes. The audience for comedy is pretty broad, though. However, "very particular" could be taken in many ways, I suppose.

There are proven ways to present words, financial information, jokes and other forms of communication. (art)

There are standards in various things, sure. "Proven" I wouldn't agree with.

Do new methods come into vogue? Yes! But most new methods fail. Imagine taking it the other way from your example.
Tell the same anecdote by leaving out every other word. Well its okay, because that's the way you want to tell it?

Again, a crucial part of the analogy is that the person originally listening to Frank speak thought that he was a fine conversationalist, had interesting things to say, etc. If you leave that out, the analogy is very different, it doesn't make the same point.

Yes according to your account, but people listening wont get much from it. But go ahead if thats what you want.

If you "don't get much from it", you'd probably be unlikely to say that "it is fine x (whatever it is) and very interesting", right? The analogy is presenting a scenario wherein the audience thinks the phenomenon in question is good--they do not see a problem with the phenomenon.

Composition helps to communicate to a audiance that understands by methods.

Well, there are many ways to parse that. First, I'd guess that you probably mean more than just "composition" unqualified. You probably mean something like, "these composition suggestions", "composition standards", etc.

Secondly, "those standards help communicate to an audience that has been socialized into those standards" is something I would agree with, but one, I'm challenging that it's worthwhile to bother becoming socialized into those standards, especially when one doesn't believe there was anything wrong with the state of affairs prior to learning that some people hold those standards (thus the second comparison, to not drying oneself with a single towel), and two, I think all it communicates to an audience that has been socialized into those standards is that you've also been socialized into those standards. There doesn't seem to be any secondary meaning to any of the standards, as there would be if it were some kind of symbolism for a shared set of meanings, referents, etc. Further, I think that a majority of the audience has not been socialized into those standards. The majority of the audience does not consist of people who have studied traditional fine arts in an academic setting in a western culture (and note that "traditional" is not a superfluous word there, as are none of the other adjectives).

If you intend to paint to an audiance and convey a message, you have to talk thier language.

I'm part of the audience for paintings. I pointed that out. I've immersed myself in art for close to 40 years. I've attended museums, bought hundreds of books on art and artists, bought original paintings, prints, etc. Although I consume a lot of academic art, I also consume a great deal of non-academic art. Furthermore, my language has absolutely nothing to do with any of the suggestions in Johannes' article. So if someone intends to paint to me, as a member of their audience, they have to speak my language, per your aphorism, right? Well, the suggestions in Johannes' article should be ignored by them in that case.

You see, there isn't just a very narrow audience for artworks--it's not just people who have been socialized into traditional fine arts in an academic setting in a western culture. In fact, that primarily describes artists who have a leaning towards older academic styles and who have pursued and followed the suggestions of other people who have already been socialized into that culture. But that's not at all the majority of people who are going to consume art. It's not even the majority of people who are going to consume art who have also been socialized into fine arts in an academic setting in western culture, as many of those "suggestions" were discarded long ago, especially after the influence of art crticics ala Greenberg.

By the way:
Composition is defined as:
The noun "objective"

Composition is defined as the noun "objective"?

aim, object, objective, target -- (the goal intended to be attained (and which is believed to be attainable)

That's one of many definitions of objective, yes. What I'm talking about when I say that aesthetics isn't objective isn't the "goal" definition, although what I'm talking about isn't something that I'm "making up", but one of the standard definitions of "objective". The definition I'm referring to is more similar to these: "Of or pertaining to an object; contained in, or having the nature or position of, an object; outward; external; extrinsic; -- an epithet applied to whatever ir [sic] exterior to the mind, or which is simply an object of thought or feeling, and opposed to subjective", or "of, relating to, or being an object, phenomenon, or condition in the realm of sensible experience independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers <objective reality>".

Those definitions can be found on www.dictionary.com. Just go to http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=objective, and scroll down to the page to entries from some of the other dictionaries, such as the Webster's Revised Unabridged, under 2 (metaphysics).

The adjective "objective"

objective -- (emphasizing or expressing things as perceived without distortion of personal feelings or interpretation; "objective art")

Well, that's not a very good definition, in my view, the others I gave are better (although there are still a couple problems with at least one, but I also think this would be better as another thread (about "What is subjective/objective?" if you're interested)). I do not think there can be "objective art", and I do not think there can be objective perceptions, as perceptions, versus what is being perceived.

This is closest to what I think you believe I am guessing since in your own bio you say "and decided to try painting without worrying what the results would look like."

Well, closest to what I believe about what, though? That's a fact about me finally trying painting, although I suppose it is kind of related to beliefs. At any rate, the easiest way to ask me what I believe about anything you're interested in is to just ask me. I'm very straightforward about it, and not averse to talking about myself

So by the noun, objective, you have no goal.

What? I don't get that. Why "by the noun objective [do I] have no goal"? I certainly have goals, although they're not at all inflexible or static.

So when do you stop?

When do I stop what, painting? When the painting is done, lol. Whenever I'm satisfied with a work's state, and also believe that doing more to it detracts a bit from what I like (most) about the work in question.

And what do your audiance walk away with?

Well, as always, each person walks away with something different from a work. Just like no two are identical physically, no two will have identical interpretations, reactions, etc. The same goes with the article that sparked this, trying to get back to that rather than on all of these tangents. I walk away with more feelings of pleasure, for example, from many of the works called "wrong" or "incorrect" than I do from the works called "better" or "correct". Different people are different.

Note there is no mention of "rules" in my explanation.

I tried to avoid that, too. I agree it's important to avoid that word, since it seems to be a bit of an emotional hot-button. "Suggestions" is fine, I think, unless you'd prefer something else.

One final example: I dont think there is anything wrong with this. Do you?


No, I don't think there is anything wrong with it. Why would there be something wrong with a string of characters? I don't get that.

Now if I am trying to write a thesis on relativity I think I just might get a failing grade from most if not all professors.

Yes, you would from me, too. That doesn't make the string of characters wrong in itself, and writing a thesis on relativity is very different than creating art.

Unless I find one that does not believe in ultimate right and wrong.

There is no objective right or wrong in aesthetics, ethics, or other kinds of value judgments. That doesn't mean there isn't subjective right and wrong on those things, though, does it?

Last edited by King Rundzap : 12-08-2004 at 05:49 AM.

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