Artist Wassily Kandinsky spent much of his time evaluating the effect of art on the human soul. He believed that the best kind of art was abstraction, because it allowed a viewer’s soul to be freed from the suggestions of a representational object. However, I have found that some individuals, when examining a work of art, seek to find something recognizable. A canvas covered in a single red color would start to react with, as Kandinsky would say, the viewer’s soul. The individual’s past experiences effects what they see—is it blood, a reference to fire, or a symbol of light? After studying Kandinsky’s theories on art, I began to wonder how our individual experiences affect what we see every day.
Through this exhibition, I seek to explore our perceptions of ourselves, everyday objects, and words. How do the opinions of ourselves affect our perceptions of others? How do everyday objects pull at our memories? And how do we understand the meaning of words
While considering these questions and walking through the gallery, it is interesting to see how the categories (people, objects, words) begin to overlap. We see ourselves in objects, through literal recreation as well as personification. In order to communicate, to describe each other or objects, we are dependent on words. When words fail, sometimes objects must be used, to signal what we want to say. Sometimes objects become as much a part of us as our brain, and inner workings. For example, a person’s choice in clothing can become a defining factor of their personality.
How do we begin to separate ourselves from the objects and the words? Do we have to? Perhaps we enjoy the labels words provide, or the significance objects hold. They can provide us with a sense of belonging, help us feel safe. But couldn’t they also distort reality? How often do objects and words create a perception of an individual that is different than reality? How often do individuals take advantage of altered perceptions and cover themselves with desirable layers?
In attempting to fit in with society (or turn against it), it can seem as if our perceptions need to be corrected or altered. Perhaps, instead of trying to be the same or trying to be different, we need to take Kandinsky’s theories into consideration. Our personal experiences are going to alter our perceptions of others, objects, and words. Kandinsky would probably say that by reading this document, your reaction to the works in this show are now going to be tainted. He is probably right. But it is my perception that these thoughts are important. All I can ask is that you forget them long enough to find your own response to the works I have selected.
Abigail Lynn majored art, history, and Spanish at Manchester University. She grew up in North Manchester Ind., surrounded by supporters of the arts in both her immediate family and in the community around her. As a result, her love of art has been and continues to be greatly nurtured. Attending Manchester University only increased Lynn’s opportunities and support. Spending most of her life in the close-knit circle of the town of Manchester, Lynn has always been curious about other places. Her curiosity spurred her to spend her junior year in Barcelona, Spain, where her knowledge of the language and the culture grew. Expanding boundaries does not solely pertain to those on a map but also to Lynn’s exploration of various media in art. After heavily relying on her skills with a pencil, Lynn came to enjoy the range of possibilities offered by the other media such as the power of color in oil painting and the deep contrasts of black charcoal against white paper. Initially, Lynn came to Kansas State University to take courses in chemistry with the goal of becoming an art restorer. However, after working at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art and the William T. Kemper Art Gallery in the Student Union, Lynn found that her true joy is in the research and display of art, rather than its restoration. In the future Lynn plans to pursue a master’s degree in art history as she hopes to use her love of art to preserve and interpret our art culture for future generations.