Signs and Symbols Art Essay

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Signs and symbols are the foundation of visual language, just as the alphabet is the foundation of written language. Examine this statement with reference to a range of artists and artworks. Even before a young child can read or write they learn the alphabet as the beginning of interpreting the process of reading and writing. Equally a small child can generally recognise popular signs and symbols, such as the “M” for McDonalds or the Coke symbol before they can read. Just as society associates signs and symbols with various meanings, artists convey their thinking, beliefs and feelings to the audience through their works. This can be described as visual language or how images are used to communicate messages. This communication is vital to artists as it gives them a means of communicating directly to their audience; although the effectiveness of this communication depends on how distinctly an artist can transmit their message, using signs and symbols. This essay will consider two artists that work are defined as being characterised by signs and symbols and use art as means of communicating with the world they live in; Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) and Australian artist Brett Whiteley (1939-1992). Signs and symbols form the basis of how art is observed and interpreted. They represent an idea that an artist is trying to convey to their audience. Signs and symbols can be in the colour scheme, the depiction of subjects and the art elements e.g. tone, line and shape. Often artworks don’t contain words and the audience may not comprehend the artist’s intentions and the work is then arbitrated solely on the artist adroitness. So to understand and profusely view artworks, it is imperative that the visual language that the artist is communicating through is entirely identified. The essence of symbolism in art came from artists Gaugin and Van Gogh who fashioned a movement known as Symbolism. These two artists who had proceeded the Impressionists, began to...
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