Humans have extraordinary capacity for abstract reasoning. Through the years they have developed religious awareness, spiritual life, and assorted elements of mythological, and metaphysical belief. Additionally, the ability to appreciate aesthetic, moral, and ethical behavior have become part of the human psyche. Through self-conscious discipline humans have been able to harness the will. While it is easy to recognize the genius involved in all of these capabilities, humans also function without conscience, building horror upon horror in the lives of others, and in the natural world.
In aesthetics, artists delve into the mysteries of the human capacity for imagination, intuition, expression; a world of the yet unknown. This is the place where art bridges the instinctual with the conscious. At the instinctual level, the human mind invokes, reacts, and processes ideas in an immediate (pre-conscious) way. Prior to the mechanism of conscious intervention, the instinctual creative mind brings to the surface ideas, organizing thoughts from the many regions of the mind, the intellect, the emotions. These processes of inspiration, intuition, instinct, and imagination, all contribute to the ability to foresee that which is intangible. In bringing forth ideas from these complex regions of the mind and brain, the artist transforms idea into a fashioned, constructed manifestation (the form). The medium takes on the characteristics of that original thought, allowing material to act as a cohesive device, a kind of matrix holding ideas in place.
Aesthetic encounter takes the art further, when a viewer, or participant interacts with the concept using powers of perception to draw the idea into the self, merging mind with mind. As the perceptual mechanism absorbs data, feeding the information to the higher functions of the brain, a new impression forms in the viewers mind, perhaps, nearly identical with the original moment of creation, perhaps different, but at the very least becoming a tool, an experience for new and uncharted mental ideation. Art is the catalyst, the enzyme triggering a cascade of secondary responses in the viewer’s mind. Perhaps this is the greatest function of art, where the mind of the viewer takes on new characteristics, new capacity to learn, understand, and feel, becoming immersed in the aesthetic experience.
Each viewer enters this action of aesthetic encounter with unique criteria; perceiving, processing, and making new the art put in place by the artist. Here we find the power of communication evident in the language of art; the tangible, the unknown, beauty, horror, complexity.