What is the aesthetic goal of plastic art?
Quickies from Wiki:
“Plastic arts are those visual arts that involve the use of materials that can be molded or modulated in some way, often in three dimensions. Examples are clay, paint and plaster.”
Aesthetics is commonly known as the study of sensory values. More broadly, scholars in the field define aesthetics as "critical reflection on art, culture and nature”.
The art historian is led to conclude that primitive humanity was impressed with the theosophical mystical insight view of reality, i.e. that underlying visible nature there must be a superior driving force; they imagined this force must have a human like form since they could not imagine a form any greater than the human form. This human world view moved from infinite polytheism to anthropological polytheism to present day anthropological monotheism.
“Whereas infinite polytheism presupposed a corresponding number of autonomous forces underlying the diverse phenomena of nature reformed polytheism perceived numerous natural phenomena as embodiments of one and the same power. Monotheism brought this refinement process to its culmination by establishing a single force as the original agent of all phenomena.”
How did antique wo/man approach an art form in which they considered that nature revealed “to the human eye only those aspects that are essential, random, and transitory, then art must create for them the essential, the meaningful, and the eternal parts”?
Riegl informs me that “the human hand fashions works from lifeless matter according to the same formal principles as nature does”. All human art production is at its core “nothing other than a contest with nature…The history of art is the history of the creative human being’s victories as he competes with nature.”
The human urge to create visual art is not the desire to imitate nature but it is a desire to compete with and to expose the essential aspects of nature. “Behind every work of art, then, we must presuppose the presence of a work of nature (or several such) with which the work of art is designed to compete.” Art is the means to accomplish the primary aesthetic goal of competing with nature while satisfying the inner urge to comprehend nature.
Art is meant to reveal the “essential, the meaningful, the eternal parts” of nature. In doing so wo/man judged that “only the perfect is entitled to exist in art”. Since in nature only the strongest prevailed so then in art only the perfect and the strong must prevail.
Quotes from Historical Grammar of the Visual Arts by Alois Riegl