By Wilson Hurst, Cohort ’13
Art as a frame of reference can exceed acculturation. Careful and measured, aesthetics interrogates the nuances of understanding, in a medium that is irreducible to any other idiom. Not only is art able go beyond current cultural awareness, but also can transcend the artist making the work. With or without individual experience, reality will persist. Yet subjective observation is uniquely particular, subject to a range of structural and conditional reactions. Many contingencies contribute to the composite mesh of understanding. The challenge of life is to filter and select in an ever-becoming quest of value selection, identifying that which is worthy.
Associated with thinking and cognition, in western philosophy the intellect is the human mind’s facility to reason and understand, especially with regard to abstract knowledge and ideas. Reasoning forms conclusions or inferences consciously from perceptions or premises either by applying first principles or by argument. On the other hand, intuition is the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. Dynamic quality assessment occurs as a function of intuition. Value equates to taste and judgment when exercising aesthetic dexterity. This ever-evolving capacity refers to the ability to discern an undefinable but recognizable quality evident in an event and its associated essence. All action involves preference distinctions, which depend on a specific standard of evaluation. In the dynamic flux of awareness, individual standards of appraisal are subject to refinement, constructing an increasing level of sophisticated intellectual sensibility. Each aesthetic interpretation may disclose a characteristic of existence, but at the same time, it hides other actuality aspects. To the extent that aesthetics is able to expose that which was otherwise concealed, art is supreme. Of course, memory is reinterpreted in accordance with current experience. Strategies that keep experience out on the edges of sensation, prior to intellectual categorization, can contribute to an aesthetically enriched life.