Brian from MyArtSpace has asked some interesting questions on his Spiritual Side of Art post..
“Has a specific work of art touched your soul? Can you recall a specific work of art that helped your through a difficult time or defined a time of joy for you? I know that some people suggest that there is no longer room for the spiritual in the art of today– do you agree? Or would you say that the spiritual aspects of art surround us just as they did in other periods of time? In your opinion, why does visual art have this power– why do viewers establish these personal connections?” My ArtSpace
I think most of the spirituality in art is in the making of art, with the artwork simply being the byproduct. So a painting can be of something unspiritual, if there is such a word, but the artist may have felt that he/she was touching god while painting it.
I have never seen an artwork that has “touched my soul” or moved me to tears, even though I have looked at lots of art and think of myself as a reasonably sensitive person. Installations and moving images have come close as they have more tools to play with. A painting or sculpture has to work harder to affect the viewer as it simply sits there with no movement or sound, so we have to do all the work ourselves if we are to end up in tears. Film on the other hand has more tools available to press our emotional buttons at will.
Art affects us on a more subtle level, it seeps into our soul rather than blows our mind on the spot. Good art will linger, it will hang around for weeks and months after viewing it, but it probably won’t make you cry or save your life. I think the viewer has to be content with knowing that the artwork is just the waste byproduct of something spiritual, which doesn’t necessarily make the finished piece spiritual. Sometimes that waste product works as a mirror or points to something greater and it affects a person deeply, but usually it just ends up as something pretty hanging a wall.