How are we to interpret art? Do we need to know the intentions of the creator, or is it up to the viewer, reader, or listener? These questions provided for interesting conversation at our dinner table this week, and I encourage you to engage with others to ponder them. In my opinion, a response to art is based on life experiences and where an individual may be at the moment in time when they are presented with art to experience whether it be a painting, a novel, a film, a play, music, or another creative work.
I saw a production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof this week and am certain that my response to it was extremely different than when I last caught it on stage almost two decades ago. Art touches us emotionally, reminds us of experiences, and causes us to think. Have you ever found a song that had once not given you pause to suddenly strike a chord with you at a powerfully sad time on your life? And are there works of art that evoke great pleasure because they remind you of a place that holds great memories? Perhaps you just watched the recent Great Gatsby movie and were reminded of when you read it in high school. How different is that literature to you today?
What I may see when creating an image may not be what you see when you view it, yet it may touch you in a unique way. So now I give you a single tree at very different moments of time in a series called “Tree Oh”. Which images touches you the most, and why? How different do you think your answer will be next week? Next year? In a decade?