The Laws of Nature

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Art, Knowledge, and Intuition

Image: sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy

It’s my hope that I can do a better job at unwrapping Dewey’s dense text (Art as Experience, 1934) because it’s well worth it. I say this only from the perspective of one who believes that knowledge is beneficial, and the more knowledge we have the more control we have over our work.

For the sake of justifying my position, I’ll place artists into three general categories:
1. Intuition-based
2. Knowledge-based
3. Knowledge-based who also rely on intuition

Artists who solely rely on intuition to create without a formal education in art probably have the better chance of achieving true originality in their work, but also have the smaller chance of being able to control the quality, consistency, and path of their work.

By contrast, artists who enter the arena via a formal education in art have a better chance of controlling the quality, consistency and path of their work but have the smaller chance of being innovative.

To me, the perfect blend is mixing together knowledge with intuition because it’s these artists who can evolve on a personal level, which leads to the advancement of the arts in the broader sense.

The bottom line is that knowledge is control; intuition leads to innovation; and, the blending of the two is the perfect state.

That’s my opinion … what’s yours?


Casey Klahn said...

I never thought of the path of knowledge being an avenue for greater control over my work. You are teaching me, sensei. That is certainly an area I have struggled with and am slowly getting better at it - I am an autodidact, myself.

I am all for greater learning, and I am discovering a treasure of knowledge out of blogging - coming here is important to me. I had an "aha" moment in the studio this week, too. I am in the process of painting what what's-her-name was trying to write in Twilight (sorry - wish I actually knew her name). I like my efforts better, but that should be a given. I just see more clearly my own meanings vis-a-vis my subjects.

Have a great weekend! I hope I can get to the studio this weekend, myself.

Karen Martin Sampson said...

I am one of those artists who benefited greatly from a formal art education - I had no direction and no ideas - just knew I like to draw! It grew from there by exposure not only to art masters of the past but from society with my fellow students and that has continued throughout my life. I know some artists who did not benefit from art school - they appeared to have their innate abilities squelched, and I know others who produce incredible work who had no formal training at all. I am just now feeling that I am getting the hang of combining my knowledge with my intuition! It has been an interesting journey in any case. We each have to come to know ourselves as best we can and find the direction that is right for won't be the same for everyone.

Linda Roth said...

The art process for me starts out with what I learned in art school--sketch, evaluate, lay it out, good craftsmanship. Then intuition takes over. A conversation seems to happen between me and the painting. The painting makes demands. I answer. A pause occurs in the conversation. The pause could be a a first finish. maybe not. Training steps in and takes a look, evaluates the work--albeit with a critical eye. The painting passes or it doesn't. My work process alternates between training and intuition.

hw (hallie) farber said...

I would guess that letting go of control and allowing intuition would be difficult. There are probably few No. 3s and the perfect state would be impossible to maintain.

M said...

I would have to drop the formal from education. I don't have a formal education in art but I am well educated in this area.

Education provides the "tools of the trade" and the awareness of what's possible, but intuition is the ingredient that put the individual shine on an artist's work.