Exercise 1.2 – Theory vs. no theory

Text snippet taken from Understanding Visual Culture

Exercise 1.2 Identify three works of art in which theory plays a decisive role, and three works of art in which theory seems absent. In 100-150 words reflect on the distinction between them.

Two groups of art can be defined as follows:

  • where the image becomes evident to the viewer prior than the visual tools used and it is clear the artist uses one or several theories.
  • where the image becomes secondary to the marks, colours, lines, shadows of materials used to produce the art leading to the conclusion that the piece is in lack of theory or almost impossible to distigush which theoretical element is used.

Works of art in which theory plays a decisive role:

All three are united in the usage of some type of perspective, symbolism and elements that may be associated to reality to some extent.

Works of art where it is hard or impossible to identify a theory:

The common ground for these three is lack of perspective, symbols recognized are subjective to the viewer and the subject is presented trough abstraction.

References

[1] Mary Abbott | All Green (1954) | Artsy. 2017. Mary Abbott | All Green (1954) | Artsy. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/mary-abbott-all-green-1. [Accessed 17 June 2017].

[2] MoMA | Clyfford Still. 1944-N No. 2. 1944. 2017. MoMA | Clyfford Still. 1944-N No. 2. 1944. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/clyfford-still-1944-n-no-2-1944. [Accessed 17 June 2017].

[3] Whitney Museum of American Art: Willem de Kooning: Door to the River. 2017. Whitney Museum of American Art: Willem de Kooning: Door to the River. [ONLINE] Available at: http://collection.whitney.org/object/1089. [Accessed 17 June 2017].

[4] Young Hare I – Albrecht Durer – http://www.albrecht-durer.org. 2017. Young Hare I – Albrecht Durer – http://www.albrecht-durer.org. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.albrecht-durer.org/Young-Hare-I.html. [Accessed 17 June 2017].

[5] MoMA | Vincent van Gogh. The Starry Night. 1889. 2017. MoMA | Vincent van Gogh. The Starry Night. 1889. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/vincent-van-gogh-the-starry-night-1889. [Accessed 18 June 2017].

[6] The Scream, 1893 by Edvard Munch. 2017. The Scream, 1893 by Edvard Munch. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.edvardmunch.org/the-scream.jsp. [Accessed 18 June 2017].

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