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ABOUT THE ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE FINE ARTS AND ITS RECEPTION BY THE STUDENTS – FUTURE TEACHERS
Мarkova Daniela Todorova, PhD, Associate Professor
Plovdiv’s University “Paisii Hilendarski”
The article examines the question of the attitude towards the Fine Arts and the reception of works of art by students from the Pedagogical studies department in Paisii Hilendarski Plovdiv University. Some problems are concerned, as well as some possibilities are offered for perfecting the aesthetic attitude and reception.
Keywords: fine arts, students, reception, aesthetic attitude, spiritual development, education, methodology of the fine arts.
A peculiarity of the time we live in is the misperception of values, orientation towards material values and material wellbeing. The spiritual development and self-improvement are left in the background.
Various reasons can be indicated:
- social and cultural environment;
- the crisis in society;
- the crisis in the family, as an institution;
- school education, in which the advantage is given to competition and power, which rather lead to a display of aggressive behaviour;
- the mass commercial culture;
- the media with its focus on the spectacular and negative.
In these conditions, many traditional forms of creative work made by young people look na?ve and out-dated, and the manner in which the Fine Arts are used in education needs reconsideration.
It cannot be ignored that the change in the different areas of life also includes a striving for a change of consciousness. Ways for harmonizing the personality are sought and also for reassessment of old intellectual schemes. Modern science is also gathering strength to shed some light on various levels of the consciousness .
Contemporaneous research confirm the basic teases of the ancient philosophy that reality discover only one aspect, fragment of the existence. The way of our thinking is restricted and influenced by the views to our culture. This culture denies some experiences only because they didn’t enter in scientific stereotype.
Art fill the emptiness of perceptions, gives us possibility to have a look at different sensations, feelings, spiritual and aesthetic searching’s. Art gives us different points of views. Art is the means for opening, widening to the consciousness. Art education can be possibility for tearing off ordinary stereotypic order.
In modern education, students receive knowledge regarding the history, the theory and the methodology of the Fine Arts – abilities directed towards materials and techniques for depiction. The emphasis is on the quantity of knowledge.
Besides that knowledge, however, it is necessary to be emphasized on the experience through art, on the process of creating a piece of art, on the attitude of mind with which the artist creates.
What happens if we ask to receive information about the quality of these abilities and knowledge? The results from the previous research for students – future teachers’ attitude towards the Fine Arts and how they perceive the works of art have been analyzed. The research was conducted in the form of an inquiry and depending on the content of the questions they are divided into several groups.
Part of the questions is directed to establish whether the students receive the necessary theoretical knowledge in the field of Fine Arts.
Another group of questions determines if direct, first-hand contact is carried out with pieces of art, and what authors and pieces of art are preferred.
A third group of questions is related to the experience and emotions which bring about in the students a few chosen pieces of art as they are required to do a short analysis.
The answers showed that majority of the students do not possess deep theoretical knowledge, they even find it difficult to name specific artists and works. Regarding exhibitions’ visitation – the tendency shows a reflux from the artistic life. If during the school age the visitation to exhibitions is organized and, to an extent, the pupils are forced to make time for looking at art works, for the university students, on the other hand, the exhibitions are left in the background. In this way, essential and real contacts with the original piece of art are lost.
Although they are aware that as future teachers they should have aesthetic culture they lack a clear motivation for the necessity of the Fine Arts in life. Their idea of a valuable piece of art lies solely in how well the painting resembles the real characteristics of the original objects. The prevailing belief is that true art is that which recreates reality accurately.
Their interests toward the Fine Arts are unsteady. It could be said that the spiritual interests are not in the foreground in the search of the predominant part of the students.
Some obvious deformities emerged in the education system of Fine Arts, which can be defined as:
- excessive emphasis on theoretical knowledge; formalizing of education, reducing it to accumulation of facts and assimilation of specific terminology;
- in the process of education, an incorrect notion is created that Fine Arts is learned with the sole purpose of increasing the quantity of information or to improve the technical skills in representation;
- disregard of the sensual aspect in the relation with art;
- outside the focus remain the non-standard, different from the accepted classic forms of portraying and expressing, as a conventional art, installations, performance, happening, land-art, etc.
These results provoked the following question: is it possible for us to try to accent on another aspect of Fine Arts education?
Of course that knowledge, literacy and awareness are an important component in education but also the correct selection of the information would be important, as well as looking for more interesting forms of affiliating with art.
In front of the education stands the problem of art being presented in such a way that would provoke emotional empathy.
- breaking the stereotype of perception
If we base our argument on the newest studies in the field of science, examining the smallest constructive elements of matter, we would see a wild dance of fragments, interdependence, movement, rhythm. Through these studies we can reach a better understanding of the ways an artist thinks, feels and sees. It turns out that the objective world in the form that we are used to see, does not exist. It is also important to understand that the information coming from our senses is not the only reality there is. The world before us is not fully revealed in its true self, its real nature. The world is abstract – it consists of vibrations. Isn’t that a bigger abstraction than that of the most abstract painting?
The way we see is affected and limited by the conception of our culture. We call “normal” that, with which we are accustomed. Reality could be expressed through combinations of colour spots or dots or geometrical forms, and each one of those views would have its own reason.
Art allows the existence of more than one model. It teaches us to see things that we would normally not notice. The world has many faces and many dimensions. Art breaks the stereotypical ways of thinking and perception. It is a means to open up the consciousness, for achieving the reformed condition of the consciousness.
Art should be used in such a way so that it can widen the horizon in front of the students, to let them come out of the shell of ordinary apperception, to form them and to open their eyes for new ways of perception.
The Fine Arts could be a possibility for exceeding the normal perception. In the education of university students it can give opportunity for a new reading of reality. Seeing the world in more than one way is a requirement of creativity.
It could be good for the students to have preliminary disposition for the relativity of the perception so that they can be bolder and more sincere in their portrayal of immediate impressions and observations.
The nature of the education could create an initial disposition of the view, which would allow the different and which would push on the students to be more conscious about the inner and outer reality, as well as more emotional aesthetically.
Art should not be studied only for the art itself, for the development of painting skills, for gaining theoretical knowledge and methodology knowledge, but also for the purpose of it being a spiritual process which stimulates initiative, demand, research and intolerance of the established nature of things, as well as rejection of prepared answers.
- emphasis on experiences and feelings
It’s necessary to develop and improve the ability of the students to feel and perceive. These are abilities that are necessary for the development of creativity and should not be left in the background. There is a need to find a way for stimulating the ability to feel through art, when the superficial impression transitions into experience.
Spirituality is highly manifested through the Fine Arts. It should be sought out in the conversion to one’s inner-self, it should look closely at the inner processes, in the awakening of the inward reality.
The Fine Arts are an opportunity for experience, a unique language for communication. Through the means of the fine arts, the attention to the depth of the spiritual experience by perceiving the artistic works of art can be achieved.
For the most part, the Fine Arts consist of a particular adjustment of the consciousness, in which you have to observe, see and feel. This is important not only during the creation of the work but for its apprehension as well. Artistic comprehension is a process that relies on the sphere of feelings. For a more adequate reaction to the impact of the image, emotional and sensual empathy is needed in order to pervade the spirit of the work, to accent on the connection between spirituality and feelings. The history of the Fine Arts is also looked at as the history of the human spirit. The Fine Arts follow the movement of consciousness and sensuality. In the painting a whole life is locked away – with its inspirations and insights. The artistic works seal away doubts, excitement, anxiety and joys –which are all incarnated mental conditions.
The usual way of perceiving the Fine Art is limited to the material layer of the canvas and the answer of the questions “what” and “how” is painted on it, but if we look at the images, we could be able to find another meaning, other layers.
If we take into consideration the large number of layers in a work of art, our attention can be directed to the unseen content of the work. In the foreground is the cognitive function of art - an artistically portrayed knowledge of reality. In the background are left the opportunities to suggest and provoke feelings. Its educational function can be sought out in the impact it causes on the senses. The statement “Everything is a matter of feeling” is valid for the Fine Arts and it is related to the creation of the work and for its understanding.
This is the most difficult layer of the work - intangible, elusive for our ordinary senses, but without its reading the work remains lifeless. Spirituality is contained in the unseen, in that which cannot be touched. It should be analyzed not only with a material aspect, but with the bearers of the human spirit – ideas, feelings and sensations. The pictorial aspect of the painting is more accessible than the expressive one, but to avoid superficiality - one must realize the importance not only of the external, visual side of the painting but of the invisible aspect as well, which carries significant meaning. Precisely in that invisible sphere spirituality can be sought after.
A big part of a person’s life consists of fictional images, concepts, memories, dreams, sensations, intuitive insights – immaterial, difficult to perceive parts of the inner-life which provoke real feelings nonetheless. They cannot always be voiced with words, but can be portrayed through images and expressed by colour and form.
- rules and ways of learning to observe
The majority of student do not have the patience to continuously observe an object and this refers not only to the objects meant to be drawn but to those of the figures present in a painting as well. Their attention is cursory and superficial. In order to observe - a certain level of knowledge is required.
It is necessary to attain the lucent immediacy of perception, which can be described as a child's perception. We cannot recollect most of our childhood experiences when we observed objects around us for the first time. It is hard to remember how they would have looked to the unprejudiced eye. Our sensitivity towards the changes in the world around us weakens.
Colour and form turn into patterns, remain constant, despite us being aware of certain changes concerning the variation of distance and illumination. This is how we adapt to the changing conditions and perceive the world as a stable system of relations.
We design our conceptual expectations and set free our perception with difficulty from the commitment with sketches of form and colour. The familiar object, for instance snow, provokes the certain expected feeling of whiteness, gained through experience, but the colour of the snow can deviate from the actual colour of white, depending on the lighting, the reflections and the location. In it there can be golden, violet, warm and cold glimmers. The fact that we immediately classify snow as an object, which we know, makes us perceive it with a memorized colour. When we pronounce the word “sea” in our conscious the colour blue arises and if we have to paint it, we will immediately reach for the blue paint. But a closer look will reveal that in every different moment during the twenty-four-hour period, the colour of the sea can be viewed as highly diverse.
When we set a goal to overturn the constancy of perception, we realize that what we perceive is relative. The freedom to observe with our own eyes should be preserved.
Things that are portrayed can be evaluated from a different perspective. The person who is observing them has also remained static and can examine them. In reality he failed to notice most of the details, many of them have eluded his attention, but now these details in the painting make him see everything from a new perspective.
Certain tasks could influence the forming of artistic perceptivity and aesthetic ideology in things from real life.
-conscious perception – concentration is required, converging on a separate object or spectral colour; observation, which is also understanding, in contrast to the mechanical, cursory perception, a careful examination of what might seem ordinary, an ability to feel the object and the colour.
The basics of these exercises are techniques, which include:
- meditation that aim to sharpen the perception and to stimulate the imagination;
- changing of the ordinary point of view.
- ability to feel and experience the work of art – an accent on the sensations, for instance in the perception of the colour. An attempt is made to perceive the colour outside of its common norms of perception; an attempt to overcome the limited use of colour for painting objects and the shallow impression of colour to become an immersing experience; an attempt to think together with the colour, to live with it and with its radiance, to hear its message, to become known as a specific “language”.
- orientation from the material to the immaterial, from the visible to the invisible, when there’s a transition from an outer, sensory perception to the inner world, paying attention to one’s own feelings and experiences.
- a direction towards the process, not to the product of the artistic activity;
- a direction towards the actual experience and condition of the mind, not to the cognitive aspect of art;
- use of typical for the creative process forms of improvisation, inspiration and intuitive decisions;
- use of some art-therapy aspects of education.
The common ground between art-therapy and some modern forms of visual art could be traced ; . This is an opportunity to freshen up one’s concepts and to look from a different perspective at things, which are perceived habitually.
The uses of techniques that closely resemble art-therapy give way to access the personality and spirit. Perception is directed towards deeper levels, the ossified methods change. In the heart of the art-therapy lies part of the aspect of the Fine Arts - spiritual experiencing, interpreting, self-expression, the use of this great language to be named after that which often cannot be expressed with words. Aesthetic qualities are not so important; expression is fundamental, the process of creativity is important and the submergement in this different reality. Fine arts can be used to restore the harmony of the body and soul.
During the education of students these methods could be used mainly as a means for harmonization. Their use originates from the belief that art is a sphere, in which the spiritual remains visible in a genuine form - it is a path towards spirituality and can give possibilities of the viewer to immerse in his own soul and to develop it.
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