By Kate Woods
Art is a medium used by people world wide to express their ideas, their fears, and their joys. The artist takes the experiences of life and translates them into a visual object, rich in colors, shapes and sizes, for all the world to observe. As a casual observer of art, one is able to relive the feeling or experience the artist was trying to display, if only for a brief moment in time. No matter what cultural background one comes from, art appreciation and enjoyment erases the barriers and the limits, and allows cross-cultural understanding and appraisal.
Art has always relied heavily upon universal symbols. One of the most well known universal symbols is the cross, meaning of course, religion. Religion of a culture is one of the most frequently misjudged and stereotyped aspects From the prehistoric times of the cave man to present day, art has depicted religious scenes native to a specific culture. This is where most of the cultural boundaries lie. To one person, a smiling monkey can instill a primal feeling of fear, while to another the first reaction is one of amusement. This difference in reaction is based upon religious upbringing, and nothing more. To certain culture, a smiling monkey is the scariest thing they could ever imagine, and to another, it means laughter. A close minded person viewing an ancient religious mask would see nothing more than nonsense, while one who wishes to understand art would see the beauty of that culture and it's beliefs, and would try to place themselves in a way so that they may understand the original meaning ofthe mask, and form an educated opinion on it.
Anyone can enjoy a piece of art, but what is it that makes a piece of art "good"? Is it the realism of the piece? Or the absolute perfectness of a sculpture? Maybe good art is abstract, an array of shapes put together to make a point. Or maybe good art is a classical...