An Artful Look
My eldest daughter came running into the room, clutching a coil of rope. "Mommy, mommy! Michaela and I can’t agree on what to build. I want to do a suspension bridge. She just wants to make something pretty!"
"Why can’t you do both?" I said. "Useful things can also be artful." She tilted her head, kind of flicked her eyes heavenward and ran out, presumably to present this novel idea.
It is the age-old question of form versus function. Must the two be incompatible? Can we even separate them? Should we?
Betty Spackman, in her book A Profound Weakness, discusses the bias against form and form education (art, if you will). She says…
Today, in North America alone millions of people…are illiterate and depend on the spoken word and on images for communication. The need for pictures to explain text has helped to perpetuate the belief that it is the uneducated, poor and weak…who need images. Perhaps this is one of the main reasons why art is still considered an extracurricular activity, rather than as something essential to cognitive development. Images, therefore, belong to children. They are floss; they are fiction. We can get along without art— and if we can do without art we can do without artists. With this attitude… there has been little prospect for the last hundred years of convincing churches and schools (and, in particular, Christian schools) that they should support the arts. p.30
I try to picture a world without God's art. A flower that would be all function, no form. A web that would be all function, no form. A blankness, a sameness. A visual incoherence. And it escapes me.
You could say that God’s art suggests God's existence to me, with the same weight that the intricate form of all things suggests God's existence to me. And if God bothered to paint, to sculpt, to suspend the universe with delicate artistry, then we too might flick our eyes heavenward to consider the incontrovertible place of art…then run out, our shadows unwinding like rope behind us, to tell the world.
Glass Dollhouse Series photo by Gail Nadeau. (Dollhouse and sculpture also by Gail Nadeau.) Used with permission.
Seedlings Invitation: If you write a post related to this post and Link It Back Here, let me know and I'll link to yours.