Looking and Seeing Are Not the Same

by Jollyon Hooley
(Pasadena)

Abstract Fifth Avenue NY

Abstract Fifth Avenue NY

What we see, what we look at, depends on HOW we See!

Looking at a common garden hamburger variety does depend on the visual info—your info from visual memory that hamburgers are rounded shapes. Remember also that SEEING comes before words—you noticed transfer images in your cot at a toddler. Other senses come into play; the smell of the burger, the taste etc.

A burger would look very different to an alien who’d never seen anything like it. It would be totally meaningless as the alien had no data to back up the image.

What we see in paintings and drawings only depends on visual combinations of past data and experience. Perceiving images in pencil/ink lines and shapes, drawn on paper, is not automatic. When we are young we should develop the ability to interpret art and images of all sorts, familiar stuff of the time (as styles and trends change rapidly) so one can later relate to current aesthetics to evaluate later in life.

Today, many art museums display art, not only from our own society but from many other sources around the world giving a much wider variety of art styles. This makes us artists to question these vastly different styles, thus increasing our awareness and criticisms of other art forms. This becomes part of the learning process.

Some of us develop a perpetual habit of assuming a blathering critique that stultifies our perception—not enlarge our abilities—so we cannot enjoy a greater array of art forms or learn from them.

No doubt you’ve had conversations where you’ve learned more from the body language of the speaker than from the actual communication he is trying to get across?

He may be giving you a simple enough explanation of specific art forms when you just “feel” he is hiding something from you. Ever experienced that? You may have even had the notion you actually “know” something of his private life when nothing is mentioned about it.

Non-verbal communication in this body language gives a lot away and is useful in increasing your awareness in other people and their art forms.

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