[jahsonic.com] - [Next >>]

Stephen David Ross

Related: greatness - art theory

One such [theory on greatness] is Stephen David Ross's A Theory of Art, which defines greatness simply as an enduring ability to generate further articulative responses. Because this ability can be produced by conditions of power, by genuine characteristics of the work, by historical accidents, or in any other number of other ways -- none of which are given priority -- and because articulative responses can include everything from refernces in coffee-table books to doctoral dissertations or further works of art, it seems an accurate description of what actually happens to works that have been granted special status by posterity. --Robert J. Belton

Theory of Art: Inexhaustibility by Contrast (1982) - Stephen David Ross
[FR] [DE] [UK]

INEXHAUSTIBILITY BY CONTRAST: In A Theory of Art: Inexhaustibility by Contrast, philosopher Stephen David Ross employs certain features of ordinal theory (number theory which concerns the position of a thing in a ordered system) to explain how the meanings of an artwork can never be fully catalogued or explained, thus achieving multivocality or polysemy. Ross argues that anything that exists is located as a constituent in many orders, which is to say that it belongs to many sets or categories of things, a phenomenon he calls "multiple locatedness." For example, a portrait painting can belong to the hypothetical orders "surfaces covered with paint" and "objects hung on the wall," yet it may have little in common with certain other members of that order -- e.g., "highchair" (also a painted surface) or "coatrack" (also suspended on the wall). The relations that the painting has to other members of its orders may be relatively stable, as in a classification of paintings according to genre. If this is the case, Ross describes the order as having integrity in a particular location, giving rise to actualities of meaning. In another location -- i.e., when it is placed in a different order -- its relations may be relatively unstable, as in a set of nearly flat, rectangular objects ranging from artworks to note pads, carpets, and handkerchiefs. In this instance, Ross describes the order as deviant, giving rise to possibilities of meaning. Since any work of art can be placed in a hypothetically infinite number of deviant sets -- i.e., sets of things with which it has at least one thing in common, but with which it may otherwise contrast --the possible meanings that a work can produce are said to be inexhaustible by contrast. Criticism and interpretation aimed at elucidating the ways in which a work participates in multiple locatedness is called illustrement. A simple way to demonstrate the principle is to compare William Berczy's Joseph Brant to Paul Kane's Mah-Min, or "the Feather", in which case the integrity of the order would seem apparent: both are portraits of Amerindian leaders. Replacing the Kane with Paul Peel's A Venetian Bather would create an apparently deviant order, until ones realises that both are images of figures accompanied by small animals. The Berczy painting has not changed, yet it participates in different locations in such a way that radically different possibilities of meaning are produced. Since successive audiences of necessity constitute different locations for a work, indeterminacy can never be avoided (compare reception theory). --Robert J. Belton

your Amazon recommendations - Jahsonic - early adopter products

Managed Hosting by NG Communications