Ulrik Gliese - Visual Arts - Emotional and Intellectual Expression
Maryland, USA, August 2002
Art stimulates and challenges both our emotions and our intellect. Some works are of a purely emotional nature, others are of a purely intellectual nature, and many function on both levels.
Emotional expression relies on tone, color, texture, form and universal pre-programmed symbolism to excite our feelings. In contrast, intellectual expression uses illustration, narration, and more idiosyncratic and complex symbolism to guide our thoughts.
Looking at images of emotional expression, we must experience meaning by letting our emotions respond candidly to what we see. This may take place as a direct emotional response based on the visual effects of the image and/or it may take place based on universal or archetype symbols that have a direct and clear meaning to us. Looking at images of intellectual expression, we must seek meaning through observation and interpretation of the illustration, narration and symbolism employed in the picture.
Some of us tend to be more inclined to approach art from an emotional angle and some from an intellectual angle both as viewers and artists. To get the most from art it is helpful to approach it from both of these angles. First, just look at the work and react to it emotionally without thinking about any kinds of meanings or significances. The forms, shapes, tones, colors and compositional elements may then stir certain emotional reactions. After this, begin to approach the image on an intellectual level, think about its meaning, look for symbols and metaphors, study the image in relation to other images in the same series and so forth. This, I have found, leads to very rewarding experiences.
This website makes extensive use of frames and your viewing experience will be much better when using a frame capable browser. If you see this message, you are using a browser that does not support frames or has frame support disabled.
Table of Contents
Print of the Month