When it comes to art, I’m a big fan of invading the personal space of a piece of work. To fight to urge to touch all of the details, I will put my face as close to the canvas as is socially acceptable, sometimes hoping I’ll be able to smell the varnish. Maybe you’ll disagree with me when I say this, but I believe that the true aesthetic pleasure of an artwork rests confidently in the minute details.
Impressionist artwork holds these tiny features in the highest esteem, to the point where my enjoyment of the larger image is somewhat distracted by each little brush stroke and colour choice that were all somehow placed to create this grand illusion of a complete picture. Of course when you get up close it resembles a piece of abstract work with the seemingly chaotic splattering of colour, though it is very much under control. I think this sort of artwork is reflective of our culture these days. We are moving so quickly, running through the (forgive me) museum of life that we seldom pause to see what is actually making up the landscape and our aesthetic experience each day. All of these brush strokes that go underappreciated because we are too focused on desperately catching a glimpse of that mythical bigger picture.
It’s one of the reasons why I like to get up close and personal with my own work and photograph tiny sections. Sometimes these images have been confused for larger paintings when in reality they make up an area of (at most) 5 by 6 cm. At times even smaller if my camera will stay focused. I guess I just don’t want these details to go unnoticed. They’re too important. These little flecks of colour, line work, shapes, and everything else in between contribute to the unity and cohesion of a piece of art. Like a piece of writing where each word serves a purpose, these details are there for a reason, and are not to be overlooked. Not only do details prompt us to pause and be present, but it affords us the opportunity to reflect and connect to what we might be feeling. I’m a strong believer in art’s ability to move us emotionally, whether it’s photography, painting, music, film, fashion, even food, our emotions are strong indicators of whether a piece of art resonates and is successful, or not.
Take pause every now and then to soak up the details. Notice them. Focus on them. Let them simmer. Connect and feel what they have to offer to your soul. Everything has reason and purpose - it’s up to you to pay attention and determine what it means to you.