Coming to Terms
Jul 21, 2023 - Feb 11, 2024
I like it. It’s interesting. It’s beautiful. These are three common responses people have about visual art. However, there are many different potential impacts art can have on us if we ask specifically: how does the artwork make you feel, and how does the artwork make you think?
I like it. It’s interesting. It’s beautiful. These are three common responses people have about visual art. However, there are many different potential impacts art can have on us if we ask specifically: how does the artwork make you feel, and how does the artwork make you think? To identify the scope of these impacts, five aesthetic experts—one from each of these academic disciplines: art history, neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, and theology—convened to create a taxonomy for the study of empirical aesthetics. Each specialist on the panel generated a list of terms related to aesthetic experience in two categories: descriptors (how the artwork looks) and impacts (how the artwork makes the viewer think or feel). This list of 193 terms was passed on to a diverse group of non-experts, who focused on paring down the list to colloquial terms with no overlap, each describing a unique experience.
The final list comprises these 11 terms: challenged, enlightened, hopeful, swept away, intimately engaged, consoled, disgusted, compassionate, confused, humbled, and upset.
In Coming to Terms, you are presented with 11 artworks. Although they were chosen to align with the aesthetic terms and complete the list of 11, everyone responds to artwork differently. An artwork that enlightens one person could very well challenge another. Also, the same artwork can evoke several experiences.
As you view this exhibition, take some time to take in each artwork. Which artworks do you have a strong reaction to? Which emotions did you feel most strongly? Did exploring it help you understand something or think of something in a new way? What term would you use to describe your aesthetic experience?
The concept of this exhibition is based on research by Alexander P. Christensen, Eileen R. Cardillo, and Anjan Chatterjee. Coming to Terms was curated by Laura Hales, curator of learning and innovation, with assistance in selecting art from her colleagues at Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation.
Coming to Terms: Exhibition Reception
Friday, Jul. 21, 2023, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Join Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation and the artists of Coming to Terms for an exhibition reception at Center Space inside Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.