Meaning

DEFINITION

What is conveyed or signified by something; its sense or significance. An interpretation. However an artist may intend an artwork to impart meaning, and whatever an artist does to pack a work with meaning, in the end, it is the viewer who creates meaning in each and every image.Quotations: "The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones but in the echoes of our hearts." Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894), American physician and writer. "Those who talk on the razor-edge of double-meanings pluck the rarest blooms from the precipice on either side." Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946), American essayist, aphorist. Afterthoughts, "In the World", 1931. See aphorism. "Don't everlastingly read messages into paintings ? there's the Daisy ? you Don't rave over or read messages into it ? you just look at that bully little Flower ? isn't that enough?" John Marin (1872-1953), American modernist painter. See modernism. "The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it." Carl Jung (1875-1961), Austrian psychiatrist. Modern Man in Search of a Soul, 1933. "Human life itself may be almost pure chaos, but the work of the artist ? the only thing he's good for ? is to take these handfuls of confusion and disparate things, things that seem to be irreconcilable, and put them together in a frame to give them some kind of shape and meaning. Even if it's only his view of a meaning. That's what he's for ? to give his view of life." Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980), American short-story writer, novelist. Interview in Writers at Work, Second Series, edited by George Plimpton, 1963. See chaos. "Life has to be given a meaning because of the obvious fact that it has no meaning." Henry Miller (1891-1980), American author. The Wisdom of the Heart, "Creative Death", 1947. "Today, each artist must undertake to invent himself, a lifelong act of creation that constitutes the essential content of the artist's work. The meaning of art in our time flows from this function of self-creation. Art is the laboratory for making new men." Harold Rosenberg (1906-1978), American art critic, author. Discovering the Present, part 4, chapter 24, 1973. See art critic. "Just as all thought, and primarily that of non-signification, signifies something, so there is no art that has no signification." Albert Camus (1913-1960), French-Algerian philosopher, author. The Rebel, part 4, 1951; translated 1953. See existentialism. "All photographs are there to remind us of what we forget. In this ? as in other ways ? they are the opposite of paintings. Paintings record what the painter remembers. Because each one of us forgets different things, a photo more than a painting may change its meaning according to who is looking at it." John Berger (1926-), British novelist, critic. Keeping a Rendezvous, "How Fast Does It Go?", 1992. "Everywhere one seeks to produce meaning, to make the world signify, to render it visible. We are not, however, in danger of lacking meaning; quite the contrary, we are gorged with meaning and it is killing us." Jean Baudrillard (1929-), French semiologist.The Ecstasy of Communication, "Seduction, or the Superficial Abyss", 1987. "The meanings of things aren't stable. Anything can mean almost anything." Jasper Johns (1930-) American Pop art painter. Interviewed by Peter Plagens, Newsweek, "Rally Round the Flag Boys," October 28, 1996. "By day, Structuralists constructed the structure of meaning and pondered the meaning of structure. By night, Deconstructivists pulled the cortical edifice down. And the next day the Structuralists started in again." Tom Wolfe (1931-), American journalist, author. From Bauhaus to Our House, chapter 5, 1981. See deconstruction and structuralism. "In every act of looking there is an expectation of meaning." Berger and Mohr, Another Way of Telling, 1982. Also see absurd, aesthetics, ambiguous, amphibolous, art criticism, attitude, coherence, communication, concept, creativity, cryptic, definition, d?j? vu, description, empiricism, epistemology, expression, fantasy, gestalt, graphic design, iconology, irony, knowledge, memory, mind, mystery, nuance, quotations, semiotics, text, and theater.

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