Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thursday Thoughts...

It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see.

Anais Nin

I think it can be true that what we are familiar with we cease to see.  I think it is likely and or probable that this occurs and that we have to be quite purposeful or mindful about paying attention, renewing our sight and seeing again those things that are around us. Stopping, pausing and marvelling.  Seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary.

For all of us we can take things for granted, no longer see them as the individual or unique thing or place that they are.  We are often overloaded with information and things to pay attention to, so we sometimes close down the attention-paying part of our brain to those things where we think - we know what that is, or we know what that looks like, or we understand that.

Art offers new ways of seeing; of shaking us up, of offering differing approaches to how things or the world is viewed or experienced. Sometimes its as simple as photographing a familiar object; but only a detail or portion of it.  Sometimes its about showing how dark or difficult something is or how bright and beautiful it can be.

Art can shake our world. It can open doors into others' experiences and shape how we see things. Help us see things anew, and make sure that we never look at something in quite the same way.  Its wonderful to be shaken up and stirred like that!

Ron Mueck - Two Women
We saw this piece in Melbourne at the NGV and these two women are quite small, definitely 'undersized'. The use of scale made me think so many things about older women becoming invisible, how we value ageing...the thoughts went on and on and all because he made them so life-like; yet so much smaller than life.


  1. Mueck's work is uncanny isn't it? and yes I agree art can help us see the extraordinary in the ordinary...... ahhhhh now only if we can get art out of the museums and into more (ordinary) homes and lives then it may help to create an extraordinary change in the world.

  2. Fiona, what a lovely quote! And thank you for your comment on Mocha!

  3. a meaningful post - thank you... i agree... as often our days are spent ticking off jobs on lists, we do miss so very much...
    viewing and making art forces one to be in a moment of intention and quiet...
    that sculpture really is something - a powerful statement for sure...

  4. oH, I really love these two women.... and, yes, seeing is a practice, I think. We can get lazy. Maybe as a landscape painter, I am wired to keep seeing anew, or is it ALL artists, or is it that all artists see what they are wired to see? I just wrote a little about this on my blog...

  5. So true - we tend to overlook the beauty right in front of us.

  6. This is an insightful quote isn't it. Love it. The fact that art should, and does, challenge our perceptions. A good thing to remember when looking a at piece of art that holds no appeal - what is it trying to shake in us? How can we open to what it is trying to say. Of course, sometimes we can resolve within ourselves that it is just nonsense and that is fine too. I love that art and creativity are so completely subjective. Or should be. I don't like to be told what to think of a work of art. I love this work by Mueck and imagine the impact of their diminished height and all this entails, would be profound if standing alongside.

  7. Seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary ..... something I've been contemplating this week. Your quote and thoughts came at just the right time, Fiona. Photographing the "every day" close up helps one to renew one's sight too. Extraordinary sculpture by Mueck!it must have been wonderful to see this piece in person.

  8. Hi Ronnie - I was about to totally agree when I thought about if i really wanted Ron Mueck's baby in the house! But I do agree - the more real people get to share and see and experience real art, the better place the world would be.

    Thanks Jane - thinking of you. The quote is a good reminder I think.

    Hi Mary-Jane! Stopping and being. Important stuff, and easily left behind in our focused days. The life-like details of these two women, and their relative tininess, was powerful.

    Thanks Valerianna - I like the idea of seeing as a practice. As an artist, learning to see negative space is one of those ah-ha moments I think. I do think most artists see the world a bit differently, and often afresh.

    Thank you Carol Lee - I think we need to remind ourselves to stop, be and see sometimes. It's so easy to miss the beauty in front of us, go well.

    What a bunch of great thoughts Susan! I need to be reminded by art that I don't respond to, to take the time to consider what there is to be said; rather than outright rejecting it (altho as you say - entirely appropriate at times). I think there are lots of angles to this quote and its lovely to explore them.

    Thanks Robyn - it's a lovely way to be in the world I think; to look for or find the extraordinary in the ordinary, and I'm glad my pondering was timely! The Mueck piece is truly remarkable (at the opposite end of scale is a lifelike newborn the size of a room).

  9. I am a complete convert to the idea of looking for the extraordinary in the things around us that we take for granted. You are right Fiona, we look, but we don't always see.Another great quote to get those grey cells working!

  10. I also saw Mueck's work when I was in Oz a couple of years ago and was very impressed - so life like but rather spooky and they certainly made me think - I think it is the job of art to make us see things from a different perspective - I have always loved that quote - thank you for an insightful post Fiona

  11. 'A truer word was never spoke'... as they say. Saw Mueck's exhibition at GOMA and was gobsmacked by the whole experience.

  12. Hi Lesley - it's a lovely way to think about the work I think; that the ordinary holds the extraordinary...happy pondering!

    How cool that you saw Mueck's work in Oz! It definitely has an impact I think and forces you to rethink things. Glad you enjoyed your visit...

    Ah yes Jo - I think that his work is so accessible to people, everybody can experience it and walk away feeling engaged with art which is wonderful! I walked away with much pondering running around in my mind.


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.