This post continues a conversation that is based on the belief that mosaic art is not fully accepted and embraced as a fine art by the broader art world. The conversation began with the post What's In A Name?
There are several reasons why mosaic art is not fully—or perhaps at all in some places—accepted as a fine art. Historically, mosaic was primarily functional, even in the telling of stories or witnessing of events. Then, it began taking on more decorative and pictorial responsibility as well, but was still a covering, more or less. There is no question as to the relevance of mosaic as a functional or decorative medium. Mosaic as a fine art medium is a contemporary idea, and its relevance as such is not settled.
Mosaic, in and of itself, is not automatically art, anymore than paint or clay or any other medium is automatically art. Art is expressed with a medium, but it is not the medium. Likewise, art is not an automatic result of creative exercise. While I accept that art is in the eye of the beholder, within the context of this discussion: if I desire for my mosaic art to be accepted as that thing called fine art, there is obviously a more objective standard to which I am aspiring.
In reference to the three mosaics above:
Which one of these is not like the others?
Clearly, I'm making a distinction between decorative mosaic art and that peskily nebulous category of mosaic fine art.
Or, is it clear?
With respect to the middle mosaic, I used the medium of mosaic to express an idea and create an art piece for a wall. I consider it a fine art piece. The mosaics flanking the middle one are decorative mosaic and I consider them decorative art. In fact, the one on the right flirts on the edge of being craft—OMG! I said it! (I'll talk more about this in a bit.)
A friend of mine used to say about art: Isn't it all decorative? In the broadest sense, I think she has a point. But within the context of this discussion, we have something in mind when we are saying fine art. I'm not going to try to define what that is so much as I might just try to define what it is not.