Listening to What a Work of Art May Say

The interpretation of a work of art depends upon the person who is observing it.  A work of art will not have the same emotional impact on one person as it does on another, nor should it.  In that sense, the viewer’s interpretation completes the creative process.

However, while each work of art will be interpreted differently by each person, that does not necessarily give the artist allowance to create a piece without personal cause or message. The interpretation and meaning behind a work of art is a two-person job; it, of course, depends on both the viewer’s and the artist’s feelings and interpretations of the subject.  Without one or the other, its meaning is incomplete. Fine art, like poetry, should communicate some essence of reason and clarity.

Consider it this way: a poem created without thought or meaning may be considered just a mashing of words. Similarly, a painting created without conviction may be construed as a mashing of color and composition, carrying no meaning. Art created without direction, motive, or desire will be hard pressed to convey either a message or perceived beauty – resulting in lack of emotion or interest by the viewer.  In the end, neither artist nor viewer gets anything out of the piece, leaving its meaning void of any interest.

Therefore, personal expression, as well as an audience’s interpretation, is the driving force of art.  Both are needed to make a work complete, and we should understand that is necessary that we “listen” to what a work of art may have to say to its audience, even though we may see – or hear it differently.