Short and Sweet

Visual Illiteracy

While I am not a painter, I love reading books about the creative and artistic process. In Joe Fig’s book, Inside The Painter’s Studio, he interviewed several painters regarding their process, philosophy, schedule, studios, and materials. One painter, April Gornik, discussed the concept of visual illiteracy in an age where visual information is in abundance:

I think it’s very hard for people to see art now. I think that photography–not through any fault of its own–has become the common visual denominator in all the arts. And people tend to see things as images, and they don’t understand or even experience the somatic import of the art. They’re seeing it only with one of their senses–they just see the image. They don’t know how to read into it. . . . But people are accustomed to seeing things as kind of a quick fix.

Is there a cause for visual illiteracy? How do we overcome it as a society? Does being able to see art matter? How is the digital revolution affecting our notions of scale, proportion, contrast, and color?

The questions are many, but all I can think about is not wanting to be visually illiterate. So, instead of writing, maybe I’ll sit in front of a painting and enjoy the sensations of art.