Wednesday, August 08, 2007

"The Place of Art in Fiction" Series Begins

Becky Miller has begun an intriguing series over at A Christian Worldview of Fiction blog.

I've already chimed in. It's something I'm pretty passionate about, not least of which because I covet artistry, and I'm not yet there. But I do want it...bad.

Go and join the discussion.

Here are snippets of my comments:

Responding to the issue fo style:
"Art depends on style. If the writing is generic, could be anyone’s, then it’s not art. It’s storytelling, and it may have solid craft, but it’s not art.

To be art, it must be distinctive, and that comes back to the voice and the style. We know it’s THIS artist or THAT artist, we can differentiate, because they are special in how they compose and express and what things they add and what they leave out.

Parody can be done because there is a style, and that’s why great art can usually be parodied. Something stands out as different, as “the style of the artist.”

Responding to the commenter's question about a blue line on a vertical canvas--is it art?:
Ah, but what an ordinary person can do with a blue line on a canvas is different than what an artist, a real artist, can do with a line of blue on a canvas.

As a child, I used to think Mark Rothko was crap. I’d see his stuff in books and in the museums in NYC, and I didn’t “get it.”

I grew older and one day I got it. I just saw that there was a particularly transcendent sense I got looking at particular Rothkos, noticed the details that my childish eyes missed. And I got it.

Same deal with abstract expressionism. I didn’t get it as a kid. I got it as an adult.

Some things, like some books, you have to grow up to get. Some things you will never get, but that doesn’t mean it’s not great. It means that you or I don’t hae the particular faculties developed to “get” the work. It’s like the Bible. The older I get and the more I read, the more complex and layered and deep and amazing it becomes. Things that I never noticed at 15 or 25 come at me now, because I have the lifetime of exposure that yields benefits.

Well, for those who have a lifetime of examining art, of learning about art, things open to them that don’t open to the rest of us...

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