This thesis proposes that regular artistic creativity and self-expression in the classroom develop greater aesthetic understanding. I believe that the shaping and appreciation of aesthetic form provides students with a visual language for personal expression, making art education a crucial component of today?s curriculum. Gaining greater understanding concerning the significant meaning of artistic self-expression has both personal and social relevance. The shaping and appreciation of artistic form across time and place facilitates aesthetic comprehension of the complexity inherent in a work of art. I will discuss these claims in terms of artistic form in my own paintings, in order to better articulate certain complex aesthetic ideas which are difficult to express in words alone. Kant was the first Western philosopher who grasped the complexity of the human mind. He argues aesthetic judgment and human rationality require the unifying power of the imagination to bring harmonious unity between sensible intuition and the intellect. Kant?s philosophy articulates a new conceptual aesthetic understanding that developed during modernity when artistic creativity became a form of visual thinking, as well as a personal expression of greater self consciousness. During the Renaissance, European painting increasingly expressed how artists saw the world in a new aesthetic language. Later, Impressionism, Expressionism and Cubism challenged the Western tradition of painting and aesthetic understanding of artistic form, leading to the postmodernist deconstruction of both language and art. Some contemporary artists use art-making to reach beyond the modernist search for self-consciousness in order to create meaningful artistic form. This requires new language games in order to express social concerns in a ?subtler? language of art, linking ethics and morality to broadening aesthetic understanding. Developing aesthetic understanding requires an enlightened eye; thus, art education is a crucial component in today?s curriculum.
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