Sensual Perspectives and the Purpose of Art

When you have an emotional response to a work of art (whether it is a theater production, a painting, sculpture, a photograph, a musical composition, or a work of literature), your emotional response is directly tied to the senses, which in turn, informs your perspective on the work of art. And, of course, not all emotional responses are going to be pleasant. Just because it is art, does not mean you are going to enjoy it! You may hear a musical composition that sounds discordant, strident, and wholly cacophonous to you. It is not an enjoyable experience and your response is a negative one. You may have the same negative response, or a positive one, to anywork of art. Your visceral response is informed by the senses. A pleasant smell invokes fond memories of past experiences when you once wandered through museums with your grandmother. An opening of a theater production that involves unsavory appetizers and hors d’oeuvres may remind you of a really awful food poisoning episode you experienced while attending a dinner theater production. Hence, somehow the play you saw has never been a pleasant memory and the only way you respond to it is by being repelled. Your perspectives of art are determined by your experiences with emotional responses to art. In the same way, your creation of a work of art is informed by an emotional response, triggered by one or more sensual experiences. As you read Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use,” be aware of how the quilt in the story is discussed as both an artistic creation with aesthetic properties that enhance a sensory response, as well as a creation that has a significant practical use. In this Discussion, you explore how art is experienced through the senses and the artist’s connection with his or her creation, aesthetically, and pragmatically. To prepare: Read “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker. By Day 3 Post a description of how art is experienced through the senses. Explain the connections that artists have with their art. Explain the purpose of art as a practical or aesthetic purpose, or as both. Finally, describe your experience and thoughts about the purpose of art as revealed in “Everyday Use.” Cite from the Learning Resources, your own investigation, and the Walden Library.

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