Can art be of importance without meaning? Must “good” art convey the zeitgeist of the days in which it absolutely was created? Does “depth of meaning” correlate right to “goodness” of art?
A definition of terms here could be of value but the terms involved are so based on individual and subjective opinion that the defintions could be questioned.
Abstract painting, specially the nonobjective painting of many artists considering that the 1940s is arguably lacking meaning. Actually many artists are interested that way. They choose to see purely compositional factors, the tenets of design as the measure of their works. Does this relegate them to the degree of design, not truly “high art.”
Abstract paintings can perform two things. 1) They could ascend to the best amount of design, and 2) they may transcend it to “high art.” Just like Kurt Schwitters paper snips transcend the craft of hobbyists cutting paper, and Joseph Cornell’s boxes transcend the craft of cabinet makers or box designers – so can an abstract paintings transcend design.
The criteria of meaning needs some discussion within my opinion abstract painting black and white. The “meanings” that some narrow-sighted critics refer to to be the paramount criterion of “high art” revolve around historic, philosophic, and religious dimensions. These meanings purportedly reflect the best ideals and aspirations of man and god(God?).
I appreciate meanings as much as the following person. I just like the classical, epic struggles of mythology, the ancient renditions of the real history of the world, the religious icons of each and every century, the struggles of mankind and every individual in mankind. They’re wonderful meanings and certainly worth artistic depiction.
Now consider this is of a man/woman who struggles to generate pure beauty. The artist. The artist who wants to create not just “high art” but does so without the tools of religious thought, without the maps of cultural revolutions, without the applause of the best and socially motivated political movement, without the traditions of a craftsmens guild. Look at this courageous individual.
These individuals not just attempt real, although only mortal, creation at its highest level – they achieve this in an original and hardwon individual style. Furthermore, their work is intended to free, enhance and amplify your perception of art and beauty in every one of its mysterious manifestations.
That “is” meaning. You are able to witness this meaning in its visual record of every abstract painting. No, not every painting is just a masterpiece – and it can’t fall back on cliche’or a cultural nomenclature. It stands as a testament to a real struggle to push something to the best amount of art with no help from all of those other “manifold meaning packages” which were the explanation for art in previous centuries.