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Impression of reality

Impression of reality
July 28, 2013, 02:54:01 PM
Recently I was looking at paintings by the French impressionists (esp. Monet, Signac) and find that I am very much drawn to the style of this time period. As the title implies it is as though these painters take an impression of what they saw rather than try and construct reality verbatim.

My question is: do you think this constitutes in any way a preference for non-reality or is it that what we think of as reality isnt always what it is?

If this is the case, does it then depend on a given individual and what exactly their impression of reality is? Or at least that it aligns with your own?

Re: Impression of reality
July 28, 2013, 04:36:42 PM
Impressionist painting emphasizes the subjective experience of the individual. An opposite extreme could be drawing blueprints for a house, or a diagram of a circuit board, or the instruction manual that comes with a LEGO kit. Those are images that are intended to reflect "reality" (which is basically the sum of all the experiences that we can agree on) and do not reflect an individual's interpretation of that house, or circuit board, or LEGO model.

I don't see how impressionism implies a preference for "non-reality" but it is a good question. I suppose an impressionist painter could prefer psychologically constructed fantasy worlds over his reality, but that mindset is hardly limited to impressionist painting so I don't think it's a fair call.

Re: Impression of reality
July 28, 2013, 06:56:15 PM
The feeling i'm getting when I watch Impressionism painting is that it's superficial especially in comparaison with the symbolist, the romantic, the classical, etc. They were experimenting with light effects and colors but there is not much behind it. It makes great postal cards and calendars but that's it. It's apparence over substance. william turner influenced the impressionists but we can see there's more to it than just pretty pictures.

Turner:
http://25.media.tumblr.com/24d2f7017b80251dbae5763f859142d2/tumblr_mpld34FN5F1rdrzfmo1_1280.jpg

Monet:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Claude_Monet,_Saint-Georges_majeur_au_cr%C3%A9puscule.jpg
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -Krishnamurti

''I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.''  -Hippolyte Taine

Re: Impression of reality
July 28, 2013, 11:15:50 PM
So what exactly differs between those two paintings? Where do we draw the line between superficial and substantial? Is it somewhere in the technique?

NHA

Re: Impression of reality
July 29, 2013, 12:37:52 AM
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They were experimenting with light effects and colors but there is not much behind it.
The focus on physical distortion is just a means to an end. Like a caricature artist exaggerates facial features to try to extract a person's essence in terms of pattern deviations, the impressionist does the same and aims to capture and communicate the emotional essence of an experience though exageration.

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My question is: do you think this constitutes in any way a preference for non-reality or is it that what we think of as reality isnt always what it is?
Doesn't all art glorify non-reality?

"Plato condemns art because it is in effect a copy of a copy - since reality is imitation of the Forms and art is then imitation of reality...

...For Plato, since art is an imitation of an imitation it is in effect three times removed from the truth. As a result, Plato interprets this to mean that art cannot give the viewer any real knowledge about the world"

(not the quoted text but talks about the same thing: http://www.iep.utm.edu/m-aesthe/)

Abrahamic laws against idolatry are also related to this and had a significant impact on medieval art. In Islamic territories constructing images of people was either forbidden or discouraged. The byzantine empire had various iconoclasms. The west was more lenient towards it, but encouraged intentionally unrealistic depictions of humans.

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If this is the case, does it then depend on a given individual and what exactly their impression of reality is? Or at least that it aligns with your own?
Its not about communicating reality so much as it is about communicating an emotional snapshot of a subjective experience in semi-objective terms that others can relate to. Whether you personally can relate to it or not really depends on the circumstances.

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It makes great postal cards and calendars but that's it. It's apparence over substance.

Impressionism was a reaction to the alienating effect of modernity in Hausmann's Paris. The camera was also invented during this period and artists needed to distance themselves from realism to stay relevant.


Re: Impression of reality
July 29, 2013, 03:20:27 AM
Semi-relevant (since Turner was mentioned): a fucking great/metal French painter who preceded impressionism by a few decades...

THEODORE ROUSSEAU


My question is: do you think this constitutes in any way a preference for non-reality or is it that what we think of as reality isnt always what it is?

Any notion of "reality" will be inherently restrictive by its fixed-ness. It is the appreciation of the unreal (or: most real) that will inform us to the nature of what is. Only when taken out of the appropriate context can these experiences take the form "non-real" - frequent recreational indulgence in mind-altering substances, for example.


Re: Impression of reality
July 29, 2013, 07:50:30 AM
...So you do not enjoy landscapes?

I think what he means is Impressionism is like an Instagram filter instead of an artistic view. Doesn't mean it isn't pretty, or even artistic, but I have to agree with lost_wanderer.

NHA

Re: Impression of reality
July 29, 2013, 08:58:12 AM
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I think what he means is Impressionism is like an Instagram filter

Not all impressionists followed the same formula:
GUSTAVE CAILLEBOTTE: "Paris Street, rainy day"
http://www.theartwolf.com/articles/impressionism/caillebotte-paris-rainy.jpg

Which looks pretty similar to post-impressionism:
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: "At the Moulin Rouge"
http://www.arts-wallpapers.com/modern_art_wallpapers/henri_de_toulouse/01/henri_de_toulouse011024.jpg


Re: Impression of reality
July 29, 2013, 04:12:17 PM
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I think what he means is Impressionism is like an Instagram filter

Not all impressionists followed the same formula:
GUSTAVE CAILLEBOTTE: "Paris Street, rainy day"
http://www.theartwolf.com/articles/impressionism/caillebotte-paris-rainy.jpg

Which looks pretty similar to post-impressionism:
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: "At the Moulin Rouge"
http://www.arts-wallpapers.com/modern_art_wallpapers/henri_de_toulouse/01/henri_de_toulouse011024.jpg



Even thoses paintings are to superficial or urban for my taste. In the first one, if you change the costumes, you will get ordinary walkers in a big city today.
For the second one, if Toulouse-Lautrec had lived today, he would have painted scenes at Las Vegas or someting similar.


Let's just compare with some artists who where contemporary to them:

Jean Delville
http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/fnart/art/19th/belgian/delville_treasures_satan1.jpg

Arnold Bocklin
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0b/Arnold_Boecklin_-_Island_of_the_Dead,_Third_Version.JPG

Henri de Groux
http://image.artfact.com/housePhotos/sothebys/47/229247/H0046-L09735606.jpg

Franz von Stuck

http://www.artexpertswebsite.com/pages/artists/artists_l-z/stuck/Stuck_Medusa.jpg

It's not that Impressionists artists are bad, it's just that they lack the transcendance, the mystery, the strenght of what I find in a  great artist.
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -Krishnamurti

''I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.''  -Hippolyte Taine

NHA

Re: Impression of reality
July 29, 2013, 07:00:21 PM
The subject matter in a lot of impressionist works are intentionally mundane everyday life type things. That doesn't imply superficiality.

See an analysis of the street painting:
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While the work of Gustave Caillebotte adheres to a distinctly realistic aesthetic that differs from most impressionistic renderings, his paintings reflect a similar concern with subjects of modern life. Paris Street, Rainy Day shows this tendency within his work, through the depiction of the typical urban scene; the panoramic view of the rain-drizzled boulevard presents the newly renovated metropolis, while the anonymous figures in the background emphasize the alienation of the individual within the city. The painting centers on the apathetic gaze of the male figure, who epitomizes the cool detachment of the flaneur, poised in his characteristic black coat and top hat. Like Caillebotte's other paintings, this work depicts the impact of modernity on the individual's psychology, the fleeting impressions of the street, and the effect of the changing urban sphere upon society. - See more at: http://www.theartstory.org/movement-impressionism.htm#sthash.mtq5Ea6s.dpuf

or the next one on the same site:
L'Absinthe, 1876, Edgar Degas, Musee d'Orsay, Paris   
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Prior to the work of later Realists and the emergence of Impressionism, still life and portrait painting were considered lesser, escapist genres. What Degas achieved with L'Absinthe and similar works expressed something altogether new. This dour scene of two lonely individuals sitting in a cafe communicates a sense of isolation, even degradation, as they apparently have nothing better to do in the middle of the day. Degas's heavily handled paint further communicates the emotional burden or intense boredom of his subjects. His paintings allude to the oppressive atmosphere of the city and the psychological ennui of its inhabitants. Although Degas continued to reject the Impressionist label throughout his life, his paintings exemplify a similar preoccupation with the portrayal of light and motifs of modern life that were central to the group's work. - See more at: http://www.theartstory.org/movement-impressionism.htm#sthash.mtq5Ea6s.dpuf


I agree that Delville is much more interesting though, and obviously the esoteric aspect appeals to metalheads. The related pre-raphaelite movement has some interesting people too - John William Waterhouse. Its escapist fantasy as a reaction to the industrial revolution. Lawrence Alma-Tadema has a very similar feel too, though hes not part of either movement.


And for reference, the king of superficial art: Thomas Kinkade
http://www.bransongrandvillage.com/images/GalleryOriginal/528-Thomas001.jpg
The only thing behind that is a good business model.



Re: Impression of reality
August 03, 2013, 09:10:03 PM
I have seen some of Thomas Kinkade's work before (because someone that I know liked it a lot and bought a book of his paintings) but it seems that his main "motif" is light proceeding from within a structure, as if the events occurring within a controlled and contained area mean so much more than the light-based coherence of the landscape around the structure is marginalized. Otherwise his paintings lack focus and any real point in the composition. It reminds me a lot of some "heavy" feel-good positivity-reinforcing music that is common among superstitious people.

Re: Impression of reality
August 05, 2013, 07:52:01 AM
I always disliked Impressionist painting on an intrinsic level, ever since I was a child. For the longest time I couldn't verbalize it, and figured it was just rebellious identity-formation, since my parents both enjoyed it. Nowadays I can say I dislike it because Impressionism is specifically about conveying the artist's personal impression/mood/vision problem/whatever. I have no reason to find that moving, no matter how well conveyed it is. It may occasionally, depending on the specific artist and/or his specific mood, become interesting, as a mere curiosity. But I can never supplant my own emotions with those of another human. Nor should I.

A specific type of exaggeration of reality is something I can get into - e.g.:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d0/Albert_Bierstadt_-_Mount_Corcoran.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8a/Albert_Bierstadt%2C_Among_the_Sierra_Nevada_Mountains.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6a/HRSOA_AlbertBierstadt-Storm_in_the_Mountains.jpg
Which should all feel vaguely familiar to anyone who liked the album art for Oath Bound. I enjoy this because it concentrates not how the artist feels about what he sees, but rather the things that make such sights amazing. They can display doom and glory in one fell swoop. They are majestic. And I do realize there is a very fine line between this, and Impressionism. But I think any person being honest with himself can clearly see the difference. And I think the key is in that sense of majesty; every Impressionist painting I have seen, even the ones that I can appreciate, feel rather fey in comparison. Navel-gazing.

tl;dr version: I don't like Impressionism because it's solipsistic, and because it looks fucking gay. I like stuff that inspires awe. That only comes from NOT being at the center of the universe.
HE WHO REAPS STORMS, SOWS WINDS. HE WHO SOWS WINDS, REAPS STORMS.

"It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart."
-Ecclesiastes 7:2

NHA

Re: Impression of reality
August 05, 2013, 04:40:29 PM
Solipsism is either incapable of producing art or has no compelling reason to do so. Personal impressions are only intelligible if they communicate something that already exists in others. Fixation on subject matter is the same as saying you don't like the colors of a particular piece.

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Sturm und Drang is a proto-Romantic movement in German literature and music taking place from the late 1760s to the early 1780s, in which individual subjectivity and, in particular, extremes of emotion were given free expression in reaction to the perceived constraints of rationalism imposed by the Enlightenment and associated aesthetic movements

You're projecting ANUS style criticism of modernity into contexts where it makes little sense, and using it to rationalize something that isn't meant to be rational.


Also, "Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains" is extremely feminine and sentimental.

"Storm in the mountains" suits my tastes better, but overall i don't like the Hudson River School art movement. Its too sweet and idyllic and loses most of the aspects that make European Romanticism interesting.

Re: Impression of reality
August 05, 2013, 07:21:28 PM
Solipsism, in this case, refers to placing oneself at the center of things. Once your focus becomes expressing your own impressions of a thing, as opposed to expressing why that thing caused those impressions, you do this. I don't see how such an attitude is incapable of producing art - I'd wager the vast majority of today's artistic expression comes from exactly that.

I don't know exactly what ANUS-style criticism is these days, as I rarely come here, nor how I am projecting it. I am, in fact, projecting only what I myself see. Unless you had difficult understanding my point, your claim that I make little sense, makes little sense. It always makes sense to criticize and challenge subjectivity. How is rationalizing something which is not meant to be rational, in any way a failure of the person rationalizing - is not the point of rationale the idea that it can be applied to anything? How is subject matter not a valid point of criticism - is the choice of subject matter out of the artist's hands, or does it in and of itself express something? Why doesn't mundaneness imply superficiality - because we can inject meaning into it?

I find there's much more projection in the two analyses you referenced than in anything I said. The Caillebotte painting didn't make me think of alienation due to urbanization at all. I found it relaxing, and felt the man's face to reflect this as opposed to apathy. Any sense of isolation was of the comforting, not alienating, type - being a result of the fact that it's raining, not the fact they're in a city. In short, I found the painting to be an expression of the calming nature of rainfall. Even in the confines of a city - which goes directly against the analysis' interpretation that it expresses the impact of modernity on human interaction.

The Toulouse-Latrec painting did not communicate any of the sensations outlined in the relevant analysis to me at all; I found it to be vibrant, not oppressive. Stuffy, sure, but that seemed like nothing but a reflection of the feeling any person gets when in a closed room with close friends, having partaken of copious drink and smoke, in lively conversation pregnant with passion more than meaning. In short, to me it looks like a painting of being heavily buzzed without being outright drunk. A good night out.

Now, my impressions of these paintings are absolutely projections, just as much as the analysts' are. But I will not defend them as being anything more than that. They are fully subjective, and because of that I won't be trying to ascribe any more validity to them than they deserve. And I certainly won't use these projections as evidence of a deeper significance in the things to which they are directed. Any significance I ascribe to the paintings is a significance I invent myself. As such, the paintings are not only solipsistic expressions by the ones who made them - they draw me into solipsism myself.

I don't see how "Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains" is feminine, unless luminescence and enormity are feminine concepts to you. The numinous experience is not something I find to be inherently feminine (or masculine, for that matter) at all. And sentimentality, in and of itself, is certainly not undesirable or feminine; the Greek epics and Icelandic sagas are full of it.
HE WHO REAPS STORMS, SOWS WINDS. HE WHO SOWS WINDS, REAPS STORMS.

"It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart."
-Ecclesiastes 7:2