Monday, February 2, 2015

The Role of the Artist's Intent

W.K. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley said in their novel The Intentional Fallacy that "intention is design or plan in the author's mind" (469). It suggests that the inclinations and preferences of the artist should have no bearing on what the viewer interprets the work as.

Although this theory seems like it may mostly be limited to literary art, we can apply this concept to all forms of art."The evaluation of the work of art remains public; the work is measured against something outside the author" (477). Even if the objective or purpose of the work seems to be apparent or rather blatant, once the work is available to the masses, any artists thoughts and ideas about what their work is about should not have any effect on what the reader deems to be an appropriate interpretation for themselves."A poem should not mean but be" (469). I interpreted the rest of this passage describing how poems, and everything for that matter is judged and tried to make sense of. These things do not lack meaning if they are being. Being is where meaning comes from and if something is, then it means something. Considering my love for it, I thought it would be best if I chose to paint for this assignment.

I did struggle a little bit with this. Because it is very surreal, I honestly had a hard time deciding when I wanted to be done with it. I think leaving it as a floating head, a little off kilter, and leaving her without much of a nose or any form of a mouth leaves this wide open for interpretation. Some people may interpret this as a woman without a voice, perhaps paralyzed. Maybe an apparition. The ironic thing about this is that when I asked my boyfriend what he thought about it, he immediately asked me "What is it supposed to be about?" This leads me to believe that it is simple for us, especially as readers, to want to know more about our authors and their intentions. However, I do try to keep biases and preconceived notions out of mind when experiencing any type of art.


  1. That is some totally wild text formatting there! See if you can edit to correct that, ok? I like the way you end this post, but talking about how we naturally want to find out what authors mean in their work, but that can feel limiting to good analysis. Overall good work here--