Beauty and its many forms
Do you think the world might be rather boring if everyone’s definition of beauty were the same? Varying human perspectives allow abundant creativity and distinction in art. Disparate artworks, dramatically different, may yet be admired by the same viewer despite dramatic distinctions. Indeed, perspective is an aspect in art “discovered” by the ancient Greeks and again by our Italian and Dutch forebears in the blossoming Renaissance, whereas Chinese and Japanese masters had a unique approach to perspective that looks askew to the Western, photographic eye.
The ancient Greeks defined form, beauty, and perspective
Artists look not to a one-size-fits-all template for mere flashes of inspiration (what would be inspirational about that?), but “draw” from their own personal experiences and elucidation to skillfully use life’s subjectivity to craft unique interpretations of beauty in all its forms.
The very concept of beauty has long intrigued philosophers and laypeople alike. In Symposium, Plato discusses beauty at length, deeming it a non-physical and objective quality. It is a departure from the typical view, as an absolute rather than a relative condition, if you will. The young English romantic poet John Keats saw beauty in veracity. He remarked in ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ that “Beauty is truth, truth beauty—that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
Albanian landscape artist Elidon Hoxha’s portrayals of ancient olive trees, at once realistic yet painterly, with large, round trunks, as well as his trompe l’oeil flamboyant goldfinches on a color-speckled ground evoke inquiries about the seemingly thin line between fact and fiction. His works beg the age-old question: What is truth? Can Keats’ definition of beauty as truth remain relevant when one’s perception is skewed, or when what one believed to be a photograph reveals itself to be an artist’s rendering? Or can our upbringing jaundice our appreciation of what beauty is?
Old Olive Tree with Poppy 23 x 20, Oil, Elidon Hoxha
22 x 22, Oil, Elidon Hoxha
Former geologist-turned-painter Kate Starling magnificently depicts the allure of nature in her earth-toned Western landscapes. Her expert familiarity enables recreation of the amazing detail, shadows, and fleeting light that play intricately upon carved rock formations in the sun-drenched desert. Starling’s paintings miss not one dry, sandstone crack nor a pebble in a clear river on the floor of towering, layered canyons. The Southwestern desert, distinctively beautiful to some, remains unrecognized and unappreciated by others not familiar with its majesty.
Moenkopi Frieze #2
60 x 56, Oil, Kate Starling
45 x 72, Oil, Kate Starling
Slovakian-born artist Alex Fekete creates minimalist and asymmetrical shapes with hot and cold-worked glass, optimally viewed against a pitch-black background to highlight the interplay of positive and negative spaces, contrasting and complementing each other simultaneously. Fekete assumes nature’s place in the studio, where he abbreviates the process by which glass achieves a patina from an unforeseen struggle with natural forces and elements.
12x7x4, Glass, Alex Fekete
Loop & Pebble
13x10x3, Glass, Alex Fekete
Distinctive in their styles, Marshall Gallery artists Hoxha, Starling, and Fekete allow viewers to experience beauty in different but equally admirable forms.