Archive for January, 2011

The Language of Art

Below you will find a paper I started writing at the end of my Undgrad and have continued working on it to this day. The copy below is not the youngest, but is the third incarnation of the idea. It written with about 10 mean ideas, though poorly written, Think it has some intriguing points. Some day I hope to publish the more up to date version! For now please forgive it!
-Chris Worth

Looking out across the room are thirty-eight students not willing to learn, not even willing to be there. My eyes wander across their faces and I think of a time long before them. The noise, their constant chattering, brings images to my mind, images of these thirty-eight people and their Paleolithic roots. Now, to my job. I sit before them to feed them a vocabulary, which each and every one of them thinks of as foreign, foreign to their daily life, in process, and content, but more importantly, foreign to their future ventures. So it is here where I begin because I know something they don’t, it is not a gem of truth that belongs only to me, it is not something that elevates me above them, yet it is something that if and when they come to understand it, has the power to empower them, and in that, change their lives forever. This thing that I hold, this grain of truth, of salt, is that the vocabulary which I am about to feed them is theirs. It is the thing that allowed the human race to begin to think about what is beyond them. It is that Paleolithic language called art. I sit before them understanding that there are forces greater than me that want to keep these young people from having the ability to think abstractly. There are forces at work that wish to keep them bound in ignorance, and with that fact, my job, and their participation in it, becomes dangerously powerful.

The words of Plato echo through the structure of modern American social constructs. In the Republic Plato lays out what he sees as being the formula for a productively successful society. Within the text, he advocates for an artist-free society. He sees no practical purpose for visual art. Plato believes that the visual arts act to distort reality. The action of a painter taking in a scene that he/she is painting means that their taking “the literal world” into their minds, processing it within that mind, and reproducing it on a canvas. Plato’s point is that in processing reality it loses some sort of the truth. In transition, the viewer of the painting then builds their own interpretation around the image. Plato sites this as being very dangerous because it leaves too much interpretation of the system in the hands of the people being controlled by that very same system. (Plato, 368-373)

America has filtered Plato’s Republic in this way; art is viewed as frivolous, self-indulging human exploration. Modern America does not support indulgence in that sense. One could argue that popular culture, MTV and the like, is about a kind of self-indulgence business; this is true, but MTV is a tool for social control, it is a tool for the propagation of the capitalist ideal. Popular media suggests what type of person one should be in appearance and by this influences practices. On the other hand, fine arts exist as a sort of tool of critique, so that by its very nature, fine art encourages independent thought. The artist is asked to explore many angles to one topic, whether it is literal or metaphysical angles. The artist, by his or her very nature, thinks outside of system to the point where the system has created obvious stereotypes regarding “the crazy artist”. If the system can label you crazy or eccentric, you somehow become less of a danger to it. The system does not want art to be seen seriously because it is so rudimentarily opposed too much that any social system upholds. The system itself has come up with some very ingenious responses to the challenge that true art provides. One, which we have already talked about, making the artist seem eccentric to the point of being crazy, the other is to frame the art language in such a way that it resembles a hobby, not a serious form of exploring our world. Art has been separated into definable quadrants because it makes it easier to control. These quadrants have slowly been chipped away so that art in the public schools is basically non-existent. By eliminating art from education we eliminate the powerful language that can challenge. More importantly we create a group of people who have no ability to think outside of the rule book, which is their life. So I sit in front of thirty-eight students who see me as a joke, and see art as a laughable past-time. Thirty-eight students, who want to be told what the possible answers are and exist in my space for a moment, just long enough to fulfill a requirement.

This paper will explore the rudimentary language that art is for the Paleolithic brain which we are. The reader will be called to understand and given the vocabulary to do so that for us the “Goddess” stands as a mature language form emerging from the Paleolithic period. The Goddess is, in my mind, a marker of the growth of Human intellect. She is the embodiment of what I call the Art Language. She is the archetype for all language forms. In these pages I hope that we can begin to discard any idea that history flows through time with clean starts and stops. In fact I doubt the action of being “history” is clear enough to even say that I, we know what it the word history means. The goddess is my, our marker in this journey. She is the language marker and an example of the power of the language of art today. I will here in, using the goddess as an abstract “historical” language marker, begin to discuss why systems of “power” want to eliminate art from the daily life of the everyday person. In the end, our focus will be why it might be important to see the power of the tool and bring it back to the common vernacular. The final analysis will then be used to examine how my work fits into the power of art as a language and in that, a tool for change.
Let us start with the image that came to my mind, that image of our Paleolithic beginnings, as I stared out over my class. It is in the Paleolithic period when the first artists made the first mark and started a tradition of exploring our world through physical observation. This first mark is more than a physical representation of man’s physical progress, it more powerfully represents the development in early humans of multiple intelligences. This is important because the theory of multiple intelligences as laid out by Howard Gardner illustrates that early people were operating with the same basic “tool box” as we do today. We have the same Paleolithic brain as our ancestors. The bare bones of Gardner’s theory argues that there are seven multiple intelligences. All people have access to all the intelligences, in fact, Gardner argues that we use all of them but that every person has a few that are dominant. The intelligences he identifies are linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. (Gardner, 6-9) The development of these intelligences is not only evident on cave walls but is also evidenced in the process which is still apparent on those walls. In other words, one can see the development of Gardner’s theory in the Paleolithic artist. The maturity of cognitive processes leads these early artists to be able to go from simply recording the world around them to asking themselves abstract questions. Questions about metaphysics arose only after the early artists started with the basic mark and in that basic observation. The only marks that our ancestor artists made were about exploring their world. Now it is only in the high Paleolithic period when early man started to ask Metaphysical questions through this visual representation of the literal world around them.
The point I’m trying to make at the beginning of our exploration is that by looking at art at its beginning, we can more clearly see a need for it, not only the need for a physical act of recording our world through marks. But by looking and stating that the Paleolithic brain is what we have as a tool even in our modern situation, we can begin to see that art is programmed as any language is, as a part of our cognitive development. The linguist Noam Chomsky would argue that language itself is inherent in human cognition. This paper suggests that the act of making art is a part of language and in that truth is a part of basic human cognitive ability because we all take from the physical world, process that information within our mind, and reproduce it in some fashion. Thus, reconstructing the original structure to be something reapplied to what we understand it to be. This can also be seen as post-modern a deconstruction reconstruction model. We deconstruct a literal object within our minds so that we can understand it. We reconstruct it only after we have applied it in the context of our personal understanding of the world. For example, the idea of table: the word table means nothing until we see the action of table. So, a child who understands table as representing a four legged animal and is never corrected might always see table as four legged animals. A child must understand the action of a thing being a table. They will see table and then associate in their minds their family sitting around the table and eating or their mother setting the table so that the action as processed by the child becomes the word. Another brief example, is “look Sally, there’s a moo cow!” a cow goes moo. Spoken language and art as language are born of the same facility in our Paleolithic brain.

Evidence for the above statement, that we possess the tools for language, and art as language, from birth is illustrated by Maria Gimbutas’ study of the repetition in Paleolithic symbols found on cave walls. Gimbutas observed that multiple symbols were repeated over and over and over again on these walls. She suggests that the very repetition of these symbols may mean that each one of them has had a lasting meaning through the history of those marks. Gimbutas herself believed that, given the time, she could isolate these symbols into a rudimentary Paleolithic vocabulary. They would literally become the earliest representation of an alphabet ever recorded. Sadly, Gimbutas was not able to complete her research, but the seed that she has planted suggests that we are not, as modern humans, so complex that we are separated from our ancestors’ first mark. I would suggest to the contrary, that we are dealing directly with the vocabulary set forth by these early peoples.
Joining the artists of the high Paleolithic period, we find that they are combining parts of different animals so that as in the image which has been called the “Sorcerer of Trois Freres”, we have an Antelope’s head attached to a Baboon’s body in a human, upright stance. Now, Joseph Campbell offers that this “Sorcerer of Trois Freres” was assigned powers according to the ability of each part of the creature’s body. This observation cannot be quarreled with; we see this activity evidenced through the art of Native Americans, the Aborigines of Australia, and many other so called “primitive” native peoples. These “modern primitives,” so called, assign powers to animal depictions So Campbell’s observation is probably not that farfetched. if each part of this “Sorcerer of Trois Freres’” body is being assigned a power that moves beyond human ability, we see a very complex language forming. It is a language which bridges the physical world with the metaphysical world. So, in the “Sorcerer of Trois Freres” we see the maturity of early man’s exploration into the world around him or her as a sort of bridge to what he or she does not understand. So, the artist who created this beast is trying to make sense of things outside of human understanding.

The problem we have is that we are assuming much about the transfer of power between the different parts of the “Sorcerer of Trois Freres”. Joseph Campbell assumes that this image serves the purpose of bridging physical with metaphysical. This may be too broad of an assumption. (Campbell, 309-311) I would suggest that we do not know the roles of the animals that make up “Sorcerer of Trois Freres”, so, from a scholarly perspective, brave, brilliant assumptions are made about its role. But, I think early man offers us something more concrete at a later period in the Paleolithic cycle. Now, this evidence that I’m speaking of doesn’t emerge until people begin settling into tribal situations, but it still exists on the fringe of art’s Paleolithic seeding point. Here we bring into evidence the figurine that has been called the Venus of Willendorf.

The Venus of Willendorf is the culmination of the marks of the first artists in the first cave; she represents a clear statement about the physical world, which also acts as the bridge for metaphysical questioning. In her we see everything that a woman represents in her culture. We see her mothering aspect. Her large breasts suggest nurturing, fertile qualities. Her round tummy reinforces the fertile nature and figure, and her pronounced vulva most obviously becomes a portal to what we don’t understand. The mystery of childbirth, the power of blood, all this is wrapped into one artistic statement called the Venus of Willendorf. She is every woman, but more importantly, she is a combination of symbols that posses a multitude of meanings. She is the first expression of the mother goddess and is the cornerstone for all religious symbols to come. This means that we modern people are still responding to her presence with our Paleolithic brain.

We are responding to the symbols that she is. Art is a vocabulary that is older then any written alphabet. As with any language form, is coded within the brain, in what Chomsky has called the language facility. With this said, we should understand that both the wizard beast and especially The Venus of Willendorf are in fact complex language statements generated with the first cave marks of the low Paleolithic. Both statements represent a bridge between our Paleolithic beginnings and the modern people we think we are. More importantly both artistic language statements show that art and language are one and that man is cognitively connected to art as language. Every human has access to this hard wired vocabulary. This hard wired art vocabulary is a powerful one because it belongs to everyone. If people realized that the power of this language would connect them to metaphysical questions and open access to abstract thought within them, this would change the world as we know it. In other words, helping others understand the art language would result in those being taught to think more abstractly.

The point here is that any language is powerful; this goes without saying, but the difference in the language we are discussing, the art language, is that it is the root of all written language. Also as we have said, it has its origins in cave art. As with all language, the systems of law must have control over the power of language. With this said, the next step is to show that we are still interacting with this Paleolithic language. I must show this language in action and in illustrating this action we will see how the “powers” that be feel that they must and have controlled it for sometime.

This puts me back in front of my students, yet again, and to the slide which I excitedly introduce as “the first clear statement between the physical and metaphysical worlds.” Before my self as well as my students, The Venus of Willendorf was cast upon the wall. We discussed the definite physical connection to the metaphysical in this text previously. We will not labor here long except to recap that the blood of child birth is one of the things about this image I cast on the wall in front of my students. I argue for them and here in, that within the belly of the Venus is the Lamb. I remind my students that child birth has until recently been very dangerous: a point that may seem moot to some reading this paper. This point must be stated because it reinforces that women were considered to be directly connected to metaphysical mysteries because both life and death emerge from every woman’s womb. At some point, someone recognized the power of the symbol which is The Venus of Willendorf. I explain to the students, that as with all language, the Venus of Willendorf became co-opted by persons in power. I show in slide from, more variations on the theme of the Venus. These examples show marks carved on the bodies of these women hearken directly back to the cave. They illustrate and support Gimbutas’ ideas that the marks on the cave walls, such as “the Old European script that uses more than one hundred signs suggests that these may have represented syllables and words” (Gimbutas, 50) In fact, examples of a primitive alphabet which we still interact with originate in these Old European scripts that Gimbutas studied.
One of my brighter students calls out… Sir, I am beginning to see how you are connecting religion and language. Yes, this is true; I am trying to connect the two. That brings us right to the next point and brings us back around to the co-opting of language. If religion is directly connected to language and the language is hard-wired in the brain, then of course if you control that language you control who god and goddess are, and for that matter what they can do. As we have said, in the late Paleolithic someone recognized this. Out of this realization the shaman, priest, and priestess were born. Now the system has specialized all things mystical.
It is important at this juncture to offer a definition of system, and in that, a definition of power will reveal itself. In the next few pages I will be discussing how art, as a language, becomes a tool for the use of a “system”. The word system refers to an overarching idea of society.

Even more, the way I use system refers to individuals who hold power within that idea of society. The people who hold power are charged with bringing order to the idea of system. This means that power in itself, is order. Order is simply giving structure to abstractions, morals, and laws. These three things are in no particular order. The powers that be always want to simplify things because that makes it easy for the system to then find a place for anything. This is what begins to happen to the language of art in the high Paleolithic period. It begins to, as a language, be simplified.

As we depart from our Paleolithic roots, we see that language follows. By this I mean in Mesopotamia, cuneiform writing is born. Cuneiform is a simple, but at the same time highly complex, alphabet using wedge forms which resemble simple line marks, directly connected with Gimbutas’ illustration of the marks on the goddess’ body. We will not rest long here, except to offer that cuneiform may be a direct link to the Paleolithic, and that, as I’ve said earlier in this paper, all alphabets are and were directly connected to visual representations within the world.
This simplification of language, moving it further away from its more literal, visual roots, is an interesting phenomenon because it quite clearly suggests that the system is creating a language that will be disconnected from the world, and will therefore be disconnected from the majority of the people. So, with the emergence of the shaman, and the specialization of all that is mystical, we also see, almost simultaneously, a separation of language and the common people. Soon the divide between the privileged and the conmen people will have become so necessary that a specialized language is created. The role of Art becomes the language that speaks to a great mass of people who were not of the privileged class. I am suggesting at this point in time that there are two different languages in action. A language created to allow the elite to be or feel like they are closer to all things metaphysical and in control of all that means Latin, and the other language, Art, which is mostly used to feed the masses just enough; enough to promulgate morals, law, and order. One should not see the jump in our dialog here at all as a jump at all. Remembering that when examining Art History, we are adopting T.S. Elliot’s argument, for needing to examine history in a broader sense, meaning just because we are here in highlighting Latin as the elite language, in a broader sense we can understand that Latin itself developed from cave markings. Further this allows that other languages did take position in the elite long before Latin. I will suggest in further pages that Art may now in fact be a language of the elite.

We can see the echo of the Venus of Willendorf everywhere from Ishtar, Hestia, Lilith, Mary Magdalene, and needless to say, Mary the mother of Jesus the Christ. I would even go so far to say that, abstractly, the Christ himself has taken on aspects belonging to the Venus. For us the Venus in and of all her manifestation is for us simply is a complex language form. This brings us to a point where I will make vary overstated observations. Of course, it is something I must cover in order that we might move into how the art language plays a role in the modern world. To preface the next level of our discussion: it is important to understand that all things of the system are repetitive. What I am saying here is that things adopted by the “system of power” repeat themselves. For example, fashion, music, and yes language forms all cycle back around into popular culture.

Do not think that the goddess vanished with the advent of the Christian system. She was merely transformed, moving into shapes and names like the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene. She in fact connects us to a history of goddesses that came long before the Marian figures. So we are not leaping forward when looking from Paleolithic to Christian; we simply have to look more deeply. With a deeper inspection Ishtar appears as well as countless Greek and Roman references within Christian art. This brings me to the last point in the first part of this paper: history is not a linear perspective, but must be seen broadly. The human language is in constant dialogue with itself. With this perspective we can understand that the goddess is alive, the language is constant, and has moved from the Paleolithic to the present. We must understand that although systems fall, fragments of them are carried in the tradition and the art, which is the language, of the present day. (Elliot, 2)

I have been laying the foundation that will bring us into a full discussion about art as language in the present day. It is important to understand that we are hard-wired as human beings to make art. I wanted to illustrate that Paleolithic connection by giving a brief albeit overly-simplified history of this dialogue through its connection with expressing the metaphysical. It is important to show how the language is in action. As we progress, I will reinforce how our Paleolithic mind must use art to explore our world. By denying the common person, art as a process for decoding and coding their world, one can control the masses more effectively.

Art as language, which had been co-opted by the previous systems as a language of power, began to once again become a language primarily for the masses. The notable thing here is that art was allowed to maintain a level of mysticism because it was understood that if we keep the common man feeling like he or she possessed some control over the abstract, he or she would feel like they had power. As we discussed, the emergence of Latin as a sort of mystical language, exclusively understood by only the elite, allowed art to reenter the sphere of common language. So within art’s reemergence on a socially broad scale, we can see the power it has, so much so that it might be easy to say if the common man can read art in the early Christian era, then he could read art in the Greek and Roman, and of course in the Paleolithic period. Now this might seem obvious at first, yet, let me point out that the society of today’s connection with art is for the most part retarded compared to the previous times. Remember that I talk about the idea that all things controlled by a system cycle back into existence. This would mean that art as a language, which was so highly integrated into the control and dissemination of information by the system in the Middle Ages, has somehow fallen out of its “communicative” role. This also suggests that it has happened before and even if it, “the art language”, becomes a prominent social language again, it will fall out of that role.

It is here where I bring our discussion to bare on this the modern world. I can only do this by using what I know. To bring the modern art language into our dialogue I have chosen to use a course that I teach at a predominately working class Appalachian University. They are present in this paper at the start this is because I us them to one, find the Art Language in the “history” of human experience. Of course the other reason I am using this demographic is because they can show me the Art Language in action. More over, they demonstrate how systems can and do control this art language.

They are an example of the masses, the American people who are not connected with art. Note that art is still used as it was in times past to communicate societal norms so that my students are not at all disconnected from the cognitive truth of what art is, but they do not understand it as a tool for their use. My students are so disconnected from art as language, that they see the class that I teach as a waste of time. The argument here is that the disconnect my students feel with the language of art is purposely propagated. Now, we have said this, but it must be, I believe, reiterated: if you take away art as a tool of common vernacular, you take away one of the ways people can critically examine their world. The natural question is this: Why do we even bother teaching something like intro to art? I would argue that the reason this class remains a requirement is because we need to solidify in the minds of the robots some cultural references. ART 112 exists to make a well-rounded student. This does not mean that they understand anything I’m telling them, even on the last day of class. The powers that be understand that brief exposure to this language might give one or two of the thirty-eight students a window into thinking about something in a different way.

This leads me into talking about why the role of the artist still exists. There are two reasons that I can think of: One is that, of course, art is the fruition of cognitive processes within the brain so that for some people, the art language becomes their primary way of decoding and coding the world and you cannot separate that person from that rudimentary language form; The second point that I think is very obvious as to why artists remain, is that they offer a valid perspective. It’s that whole idea that is the catalyst for this paper: that art is in fact born in such a way that it allows the possessor of the language to see the world differently than other people who may not be as well versed in said language.

I have said numerous times in this paper that all people poses the ability to use the art language. This is evidenced by Howard Gardner’s work on the idea of multiple intelligences, on which this paper draws heavily. As I have said previously, Gardner suggests that, in fact, individuals poses at least seven different ways of filtering the world, or as he calls it, intelligences. He does not argue that a person solely relies on one or two of the seven, but they actually sort of overlap in a kind of fluidity. This is not to say that one intelligence is somehow more in the forefront than another, but that they all interact to help individuals code and decode their world. Remember that we are interacting within this world through the lens of a Paleolithic brain. In the book, The Mind In The Cave it is suggested that we, the past and present we, filter the world through the seven intelligences in the following way: we “make visual images, classify those images, communicate the images, and attribute meaning to the images.” (Williams, 110)

Art, as a language form, acts to filter these intelligences so that through art, cognitive collecting and gathering of information becomes reconnected with the world. Gardner states,” technically, however, no intelligence is inherently artistic or non artistic. Rather, intelligences function artistically to the extent that they exploit certain properties of a symbol system.” (Gradner, 46) Let me explain. When the painter looks at his still life, he is processing the colors and shapes through a kind of cognitive awareness. Those colors and shapes then are coded in his brain, and through his brain to his hand and through the brush, are once again decoded onto canvas. Here the artist is literally reading the still life, taking the information into his brain, and offering it again to us on the canvass. The word reading used here is supported by Gardner as a direct connection to language in all its symbolic coding and decoding. We all do this. This is a process that all humans use to move through their world. In this process alone, I am convinced that all of my students are connected to their art language; they just do not have the vocabulary to express what is going on. Gardner and other art educational theorists have provided statistics that illustrate that when a student is connected to a good art program from Elementary school on, they have better grades in everything else. Sternburg recognizes that the integration of art in the classroom gives students a broader learning perspective and it should be utilized as a tool within teaching techniques on all levels. (Sternburg, 94) The point I am trying to make here suggests that there is a reason that the masses are somehow disconnected from art. It may sound like I am offering a conspiracy theory…I am.

The flow of this paper has brought us from our Paleolithic roots, shown us that art as language is active in establishing abstract connections to the metaphysical, and in that, given power to art as a language. It can literally offer viewpoints that are outside of the system. The system recognizes that power. That point is illustrated to us. Through the use of pop culture reference, a barrage of media-fed visual candy, the system is able to tap into the common person’s art language and get them to subscribe to social norms.

It is important for the system to keep the language of empowerment that art is, just at arm’s length from the common person. By common person, I mean non-artist. The system achieves that distance by specializing the art language. As the system does with everything else, Marx’s and Engels’ illustrate the mind of the worker under the construction of classification by stating, that for the labor, “the twelve hours spent weaving, spinning, drilling, etc…has no meaning for him, but as earnings”. With the emergence of Latin, the elite had its language connecting only them to the metaphysical, so the art language was returned to the masses. In America, the art language once again became an elite language and the training is for common people to see their actions within their trade as being simply to make money. The system set this into place to keep abstract thought distant from the people. Marx and Engels illustrate for us, not an archaic idea, but one that is alive and well in the minds of my students today. They have are disconnected from their ability to think abstractly because it’s trained.

Notice, we’ve talked about this before when we talked about the emergence of Latin as an elite language. We showed how art had once again become a part of that common person’s vernacular. So, what I am saying in this age is that the art language has once again become an elite, distant tool. As it did in the late Paleolithic period because of events like the industrial revolution and the birth of psycho analysis, art as a language began to be, for the most part, only readable by a select few, “the art community”. Now, I must be careful here because it may seem as though I am trying to be negative about the progression of art. On the contrary, I think it quite natural that art has become a language that is insular and highly controlled. As we have said before, this will fall in and out of fashion and the insular trend that we have been involved in since the birth of expressionism on into modernism, might actually make the art language more powerful, which means that it is working against the system. For example, the system has helped the masses define artists as somehow being outside of the normal way of thinking. This allows today’s artist the freedom of saying whatever they want to say. Today’s artist can be bold in his statement and what results from that bold action is either the general public is amazed by what they see or the artist is pigeon holed into being so eccentric that their overblown statement is swept under the rug. This kind of modern definition of an artist helps the artist in his or her process, but can also harm. We are seeing in the acceptance and rejection of fine art as a language, polar effects. I advocate that a direction must be found that represents some sort of middle ground. We have extremes like Frida Carlo and Jackson Pollock that represent bold movements toward exploring art’s direction. I argue that those movements were and are completely necessary, but a problem arose: we have cut off the common person from a language that belongs to him.

The Paleolithic language, which we have established as belonging to everyone, should be, and could be, harnessed to positively change our system. I know that Pollock changed how every person looks at paint. He also highlighted the aforementioned problem. Virtually all of my students in ART 112 respond to Jackson Pollock by saying, “I could do that with one hand tied behind my back.” I answer their statement by saying, “But you didn’t.” My response to their very natural reaction to Pollock is just as natural, except that my students have been so removed from their art language that no matter what I say, they see Pollock as absolutely absurd. The goal is for the modern artist to reverse my students’ response to Pollock. The way to do this is to bridge the gap between what they “believe” they can do creatively, and what they can do. The key is to teach that creativity is naturally important and that art exists as a language which filters the world for everyone. I am not saying that everyone can or should be a Rembrandt, but I am saying that everyone has the ability to see art as a way of exploring our world. Now, I realize I am writing this paper for the art community, which, in itself, is redundant. The language of creativity seems to most of the art community to be accessible to everyone. I would argue a majority of my students have no connection, or very little connection, to their creative potential; they simply want to know what’s in the rulebook. I have said before that this separation of creative thinking and the common people is in fact a conspiracy to make social control even more prolific. As we have said before, if you take away abstract thought, you have a people that think very plainly within a box.

I call for a movement that reconnects all people with the art language through direct dialogue between symbols and signs. Note that I realize I am being naïve and foolishly ambitious in the above statement because the trend in America is to move away from art in education. In fact, in most educational spheres in America, art has consisted of macaroni pictures and pop-art collage. I suppose that we should be happy that art exists on any plane; however, it is the argument of this paper that by denying people their Paleolithic right to this language, we are in fact dumbing down a society. This is a crime.

The solution is to simply stop treating non-artists as if they are illiterate. My work follows the line that we are all connected to the art language. I am following modern artists such as Raymond Pedabon in using common iconography to express common social problems. By social problems I simply mean social construct as a whole. The art language gives me another way of looking at the world, and in that, I have a way of stepping outside of the system. Yes, I am using that word system again, referencing the power structure that should, for this paper, be understood as America. This brings us full circle in our discussion, back to Plato’s assertion in the Republic that the fine art perspective is somehow one that moves confusingly away from the black and white truth that exists in and to every system. Plato argued that the productive society should see art as a impure way of interpreting the literal world. (Plato, 373) It must be noted that the assertion I am using to combat Plato’s view is that anytime anyone internalizes anything it automatically becomes impure in Plato’s reading. Thus amazingly, Plato himself renders his own words moot.
As a productive citizen, all of my students understand that art is fundamentally a past time belonging to realms of absurdity on the part of the artist. This is a healthy American view of art. This paper, and my work, recognize that American trend and plays on it. I, like the commercialized world of buying and selling, recognize that there are certain symbols that have belonged to the human race since the Paleolithic period. I also recognize that in every person, this language of art, as we have said before, is alive and well. The system recognizes this as I do, and my recognition of the system’s acknowledgement of the Paleolithic art language illustrates that the system itself is subverting and manipulating art as a language. I try to do the very same thing to the system. I attempt to use iconography and my understanding of our Paleolithic connection, to create change. This is what I am advocating here: that the artist has a responsibility to give to the masses what has been taken away by the system. They have a responsibility to return creativity to its rightful place.


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