From a reflection I wrote for my History of Modern Art class:
Humans tend to behave in patterns. We imitate each other, we try to recreate nature, and we especially repeat our past, both on global and personal scales. And all the while, we claim that we’re being original. We claim that we are, in fact, breaking the very patterns we’re repeating, that we’re doing the things our parents were afraid to do. We don’t have it all wrong; in our own ways, we are breaking patterns. We’re going beyond what our ancestors considered possible, but the process of doing so continues a greater pattern of which we’re less aware. As we made our way through the timeline of modern art eras during Friday’s lecture, I started to notice that most modern artistic breakthroughs have been perceived as rebellious, brutally honest, and uncomfortable––and since people live in patterns, I’d be willing to bet that this was the case even before the modern art age.
Of course, there were movements that stood out to me as particularly revolutionary (Cubism, Ashcan School, and the Neo-D
While art initiates change, it is also born from it; that is, it’s created in response to societal changes, or from changes within artists themselves. And this, this situation of change provoking art provoking change, calls to mind the oft-repeated phrase, “Life imitates art”––because really, “change” is just an uncomfortable way of saying “life.” The situation begs the question, “Where do patterns begin?” to which I, at least, can see no answer.
As far as I can see, art and life are engaged in a cyclical relationship; each is catalytic of the other and therefore neither can exist without the other.