Theory and practice

Author: cath

Thursday, 15 December, 2005 - 21:06

I didn't do it justice, my answer to your question about why study art theory and practice in tandem. I thought about it quite a lot after our conversation and wanted to answer more fully.

Firstly, studying art theory supports art practice because of all that motor neuron stuff going on that you often mention.
Secondly, it supports art practice because I find myself tuning in and becoming more and more aware. There's a lot to be said for an artist developing an eye for things by observing art in all its forms.

And, an artist is always re-appropriating the past, even if they try not to. It could be an unconscious or a conscious thing.

If I study gothic architecture, romanesque art, impressionism etc etc. sometimes it can initially seem removed from my personal artistic journey, but a point always comes when all the exposure informs on my artistic practice.

The last thing I was thinking is that studying art history gives me an opportunity to reflect on art in a different way to practicing art.

Any subject that is studied indepth needs to be approached from many different angles. Theory, hand in hand with practice makes that possible.

Categories: art, theory, practice,
Comments: 1


I should probably clarify the motor neuron stuff I mention... :) I was talking about mirror neurons: these fire in the observer when the observer sees someone else performing activities - brains scans of the observer look like they are moving too.

This is one of the reasons that when I'm demonstrating practical skills I make sure people can see what I'm doing with my hands etc when doing things.

But I also, (without evidence obviously) tend to think of the idea as extending to mental activities as well as physical activities. So going through an intellectual debate or argument is a kind of 'performance' in a learning and teaching situation, the value of which is not that a student memorises the argument or logic, but that they 'experience' the argument, and become more able to perform such arguments themselves.

Author: joe Sent: 2005-12-22 11:02:31

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