WOMAN: Well, 'ow did you become king then?
ARTHUR: The Lady of the Lake, [angels sing] her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. [singing stops] That is why I am your king!
DENNIS: Listen -- strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony
- from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail", Scene 3
Perspective. Quite different depending what side of it you're standing on. I happen to like the idea of "strange women lying in ponds" and their potential impact on governmental systems. But only the idea of it. The reality would be something else entirely, I imagine.
Art is about perspective. Not just the process of composing a painting and its viewpoint, but the perspective of the art viewer as well. I recently spoke to a group of college students in a gallery setting. It was fascinating to watch them watching the art, and to see which pieces spoke to them. As you might imagine, it was completely different for everyone. Even the gallery curator most appreciated a piece different from those that others liked. It was unpredictable and widely disparate.
I love this about art. When it comes to your perspective as a viewer, you can't get it wrong. It just matters what you like - what calls to you and what makes you want to look again. Even for me. I can view a hundred pieces of art and feel nothing for 99 of them. But there will be at least one that whispers to me and stays with me after I've walked away. Whether I like it because the Lady of the Lake told me to or because of the logical balance and composition of the piece doesn't matter. It just matters that I like it.
Recently I began building a small collection of pieces that make my heart sing. One here, one there, completely unrelated pieces from a variety of artists. I'm looking for the common thread running through them. I'll let you know when I find it. In the meantime, I'll just float along in the pond looking for swords.