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  1. #1
    Senior Member Clover's Avatar
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    Default Is it possible to see spirituality without believeing in spirits...?

    I had to do a project for my Art History class which involved picking apart an artists work and trying to find something spiritual in it. Well, it is rather difficult for me since I am not an artist and I am not spiritual. I don't believe in spirits, so I am wondering if I am wrong in denying seeing anything spiritual in the artists work. Since there are no souls for me, I cannot find anything spiritual in her pieces. I realize I am going to sound totally ignorant when I have to talk about this in front of people, I really didn't go out of my way to research spirituality in humans so it is difficult for me to understand. I generally understand things by experiencing them, seeing them with my own eyes or empathizing with them in some way, and I just can't seem to wrap my mind around the division of body and soul. To me, she is an artist making a statement about the world we live in, about the rights of human beings and about our perceptions and thoughts. Is a thought something akin to spirituality? She seeks to change our minds, to challenge us to think in different ways. Is that something spiritual? I can see a separation of mind and body, letting go of superficial things and judging based on character and ideas, but I see that as something solid, when the mind fades there is no way for it to continue thinking and it fades into oblivion. What the hell is a spirit anyway, can it take on different forms and meanings to different people? It's so confusing, I can't believe I have to talk about this in front of people in an hour.

  2. #2
    DoubleplusUngoodNonperson
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    Nature itself is spiritual, if you ask NAtive Americans and you can find some of them around. That bird in your avatar has spirit

  3. #3
    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    You can't find anything that makes you think. Hey, if she sees spirits, and puts them in her art. This bit, that thing, that blob, etc, are probably her spirits.

    You don't have to put it like you recognice the spirits, but just the things you think the artist recognizes as spirits.
    ~Self-depricating Megalomaniacal Superwolf

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    The Architect Alwar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clover View Post
    Is it possible to see spirituality without believeing in spirits...?
    Yes, if by spiritual you mean a feeling of wonder, being awestruck, or aesthetic pleasure.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Snow Turtle's Avatar
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    Yep. It definitely takes on different meanings. Usually when people comment about how their work seems spiritual, they either mean it in a metaphysical sense or they are talking more about the core of a person. Someones identity, their inner thoughts shining through in the artwork. Which technically isn't spiritual at all.

  6. #6
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clover View Post
    I generally understand things by experiencing them, seeing them with my own eyes or empathizing with them in some way, and I just can't seem to wrap my mind around the division of body and soul. To me, she is an artist making a statement about the world we live in, about the rights of human beings and about our perceptions and thoughts. Is a thought something akin to spirituality? She seeks to change our minds, to challenge us to think in different ways. Is that something spiritual? I can see a separation of mind and body, letting go of superficial things and judging based on character and ideas, but I see that as something solid, when the mind fades there is no way for it to continue thinking and it fades into oblivion. What the hell is a spirit anyway, can it take on different forms and meanings to different people? It's so confusing, I can't believe I have to talk about this in front of people in an hour.
    I believe in God, but I don't believe in a division of body and soul. To me everything you are talking about is spiritual. I think if you give descriptions like you just have here, then you'll be fine in your presentation.
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  7. #7
    Member Saffronsocks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clover View Post
    I had to do a project for my Art History class which involved picking apart an artists work and trying to find something spiritual in it. Well, it is rather difficult for me since I am not an artist and I am not spiritual. I don't believe in spirits, so I am wondering if I am wrong in denying seeing anything spiritual in the artists work. Since there are no souls for me, I cannot find anything spiritual in her pieces. I realize I am going to sound totally ignorant when I have to talk about this in front of people, I really didn't go out of my way to research spirituality in humans so it is difficult for me to understand. I generally understand things by experiencing them, seeing them with my own eyes or empathizing with them in some way, and I just can't seem to wrap my mind around the division of body and soul. To me, she is an artist making a statement about the world we live in, about the rights of human beings and about our perceptions and thoughts. Is a thought something akin to spirituality? She seeks to change our minds, to challenge us to think in different ways. Is that something spiritual? I can see a separation of mind and body, letting go of superficial things and judging based on character and ideas, but I see that as something solid, when the mind fades there is no way for it to continue thinking and it fades into oblivion. What the hell is a spirit anyway, can it take on different forms and meanings to different people? It's so confusing, I can't believe I have to talk about this in front of people in an hour.
    Spiritual is such a vast term... I don't think it need necessarily refer to the human soul exclusively. I don't believe in souls at all, and I'm very spiritual, but it has more to do with... searching for the essential nature of things and always pursuing a clearer perspective on what it means to be alive (and eventually not alive !). If this artist is pursuing that through expressing her ideas about perception and human rights than it's possible that she finds her spirituality through painting. But on the other hand, I totally recommend that you follow your instinct and if you don't see any spirit in the work, say that!

  8. #8
    #005645 phthalocyanine's Avatar
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    by 'spiritual' do you mean pertaining to spirits as entities, or something more related to human spirituality?

    i'm guessing it's the second one... in which case i'd just think about anything existential..well, it seems like you're already kind of doing that. maybe it's just the word 'spiritual' you're getting caught up on..

    ..as long as you can provide justification for your 'findings', it will fly. art, after all, is in part subjective..

    Quote Originally Posted by nozflubber View Post
    That bird in your avatar has spirit
    funny...birds have often been used as symbols of the spirit in art

  9. #9
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    If spirits: yes. If spirituality, yes. People become beleivers out of ignorance. I myself am a beleiver in spiritts, but an abstainer from spirituality.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Into It's Avatar
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    You don't have to believe in something to see its effects. Can you see piles of rubble where houses used to be without believing in tornadoes?

    The good news is, spirituality is about the most subjective thing on the planet. So you can pretty much say anything on your assignment and it will sound fine. "Ohh, she paints green grass, babbling brooks, rodents running around and squirrels saving seeds for sustenance because the spirit of the forest is strong in this one."
    An inscription above the gate to Hell:
    "Eternal Love also created me"

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