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What Are the Uses of Critical Thinking in Art?

Wanda Marie Thibodeaux
Wanda Marie Thibodeaux

Critical thinking in art aids in art interpretation, forming memories of works, selecting and eliminating materials and solving problems or logistical issues. All of these benefits are tied to culture to some degree. They explain why artists approach work in particular ways or why people view the same pieces of art differently.

A basic way an individual uses critical thinking in art is in art interpretation. This is perhaps the most complex way critical thinking and art are linked. People store memories about their experiences and the feelings associated with those events in their brains. When people view art, one or more things in the art work trigger the brain to recall the previous experiences or feelings, and the person makes some deductions about the art based on those recollections. This is why art is so subjective — no two people have the same experiences and therefore are not likely to come to the exact same conclusion.

Imagination is important when creating art.
Imagination is important when creating art.

In the same way memories are triggered by art and help in critical interpretation, thinking seriously about a work of art also forms memories of the piece. As an example, if a person tries to assess how much orange is in a red in a painting, later on, he might recollect his assessment and be able to show others what the hue was, even though he is no longer anywhere near the painting. The memories a person makes of a piece through critical thinking thus is connected to spreading the word about the art and showing its importance within the culture.

A person also may use critical thinking in art for selection and elimination. For instance, an artist might consider different color schemes or how a particular texture or material might suit the overall intent of the work. During this process, the artist has to use predetermined sets of constraints to sort through all the possible choices.

It is also possible for people to use critical thinking in art to solve problems or work out logistical issues. As an example, an artist might need to figure out the latest date by which he can order materials to guarantee that he will have what he needs to complete a commission on time. Similarly, a sculptor might need to determine the best way to hoist a piece into position if the work weighs several tons.

Lastly, imagination also is one of the uses of critical thinking in art. When looking at a piece, an individual might brainstorm about what elements might be. This sometimes paves the way for the creation of other works or stories.

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    • Imagination is important when creating art.
      By: Pavel Losevsky
      Imagination is important when creating art.