Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Symbolism in Art

 Journey On
18x18 Sold

Recently I had a conversation with some friends about how paintings are interpreted. How much of the understanding of a work of art is based on the various elements the artists use to get across their concept and how much of the interpretation is really influenced by the viewers own life experiences?

Sometimes the message is quite obvious and other times it's ambiguous and very much open for interpretation regardless of the artist's intent. My own work has it's own symbology which I hope comes across to some degree yet I rather like knowing the viewer relates to it in their own way too.

Journey On represents the passage of time, where it takes us, where we've been, how we get there and with whom. The moon symbolizes the rhythm of the years, the boat represents life's journeys and was inspired by ancient middle eastern vessels, while the cat and bird, two creatures typically not seen as companions become shipmates in this painting, as they do in much of my work.

As an artist or collector what is your experience with the interpretations of art? Do you get the same meaning from a work of art as the artist intended? I'm interested in your opinions.


Terry Elrod said...

This is a lovely painting, Cindy. Perhaps I'm a bit lazy, but I don't often try to guess at meaning intended by the artist, nor do I even try to verbalize the feelings a painting evokes in me. In the middle ages paintings made regular use of symbolism. I wish this were done by more artists today. It is another way for the viewer to become engaged by a work of art.

Cindy Revell said...

Thank you Terry. Symbolism is often interpreted differently by each of us but it's interesting to me to find out what an artist had in mind. I was in a gallery trying to decide which painting to buy, the artist told me a story behind one of them and that was the one I bought. Every time I look at it I think of that story and I love the connection. Others may like the mystery of not knowing.