There have been many books written about the visual arts, from historical points of view to critical analysis.
Of course, there are many definitions about what constitutes art. In fact, there could be as many definitions of what art is as there are people looking at it.
Without getting too entrenched with what constitutes art, let’s look at why artists make art. Again, that can be slightly different for every artist.
Perhaps they create art for personal enjoyment and satisfaction, or it is their way to communicate to others. The act of creating art could be to simply record a time, place, person, or thing. The reasons can get complicated, such as increasing global understanding, or an attempt to reinforce cultural traditions. The art could even be made in order to affect social change.
The work of local artist Petronio Bendito now on display at the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette, titled “Natural Disaster Color,” is a perfect example of a person creating art in order to increase our global understanding and awareness, and in this case our understanding of worldwide natural disasters.
Bendito has for the past decade examined exact color. This exhibit is based on the artist’s examination of the colors found in pictures taken after natural disasters.
Within numerous images of the aftermath of disasters that show misery, anguish, and destruction, the artist has concentrated on matching many of the colors within these images. Those colors are then used in the creation of his computer-generated prints.
The results are linear, optical and geometrical color layouts that use the exact colors that the artist found in the original disaster images.
Viewing these large prints should not be a hasty situation. Each work of art should be looked at leisurely in order to give each viewer’s eyes time to adjust to the coloration and linear layout of each work of art. When each piece is looked at over a longer period of time, interesting things begin to happen optically.
These well-organized compositions begin to visually ebb and flow as well as create a sense of depth. Bendito has taken something as dark as disaster and has added by creative study and manipulation the human light of hope and emergence.
Tom Shafer provides insight about art exhibits in Greater Lafayette. Email him at orieshafer@ hotmail.com.
If you go
What: “Natural Disaster Color” by Petronio Bendito
Where: Art Museum of Greater Lafayette, 102 S. 10th St.
Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. daily
For more information: Call 765-742-1128 or visit www.artlafayette.org.
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