Art as art becomes art as art

Piyadasa, Redza
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The problematics involved in the writing of a MFA thesis raises interesting questions about the nature of art-education itself as it is perpetuated in the studio areas. How important is the actual thesis, for instance, in relation to the works that are being exhibited in the thesis exhibition? There are those detractors who will question the validity of a lengthy thesis and -state quite categorically that the actual works produced by a "visual" artist should speak for themselves without too many wordy explanations from the artist who has produced them. The job of actually describing them should be left to the art critic if that is necessary. Such a point of view which is rampant in art-institutions everywhere still presupposes that the ideatic considerations behind the work of art can be readily comprehended on the basis of the work's "visualness." Underlying this line of thinking is, of course, the notion of a formalistic art-making approach which makes much of the morphological characteristics inherent in the work itself and also, "retinal" considerations. The detractors will argue therefore that because art is essentially "visual," there is no need for the artist to describe via any other form of expression the underlying ideatic and conceptual considerations that have entered into the art making impulse. A good "visual" work of art would have revealed very clearly all the "processes " involved. If only this were the case always! My rebuttal to those simplistic believers of a purely "visual" approach in art will be to remind them that the history of modern art is full of instances wherein serious artists who were essentially "visual" were misunderstood and condemned when their works were first shown in avantgarde exhibitions. Clearly then there is much more to the art-making impulse and the "art-context" than "visual" considerations alone!
Theses for the degree of Master of Fine Arts (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Art ; no. 193
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