We have, as a society, become very open-minded on the one hand and hyper selective on the other. This can sometimes mean a lack of knowledge amidst a tendancy to apply catagoric and exclusive opinions. However our ideas are formed not so much on our own capacity to evaluate the things we see in front of us but rather on whatever or whoever has influenced our perception of value. This is usually based on fashion, finance or ideology. We have become very much our own critics of Art, without however, the crucial tools with which to observe and truly choose for ourselves. Discussions on alternative art forms and their intrinsic value based solely on aesthetical considerations have mostly been abandoned and this has had its repercussions on the way we percieve design around us. Paintings and decorations seem to cross boundaries just as the decorator and the painter cross boundaries. Both fractions contain both good and bad artisans, but one group has applied a set of ideologies and does not rely on technique to define it, while the other sits uncomfortably cage open to public admiration and ridicule.
We make aethetic choices numerous times a day. I consider it in its most fundermental state the natural tendency for man to organise his world. How we arrange furniture around us, is an excercise in aethetics, how we apply make-up, is an excercise in aethetics. How we choose colours while dressing, is an excercise in aethetics.
Aethetics as an area of study IS important, it is the sum total of what has been learned by man regards beauty and how beauty can be recreated to provide comfort in our everyday lives. Is comfort important? Yes, it is. So questions regards aethetics, needs consideration. Unfortunatly all discussion regards the validity of aethetics and specifically decoration was abandoned when Fine Art freed itself from the risk of being valued on aethetic principles.
In fact now, fine art is something quite apart from an aethetic excercise, yes of course they can have that objective, but a true work of Art has now long been established as the one-off thought behind a creative piece. An intimate expression and insight into the artists world; fruit of his personal zeitgeist. It is no longer considered the exercise of aesthetic itself. Sometimes a painting can be used as a decoration, but in essence it is not born to flex itself to its surroundings it is designed to require your total attention. To draw a comparison on a more mundane level we might begin to see that make-up can be applied creatively or aesthetically. The two objectives are completely different, the first being the ability of the artist to amaze the observer the second to enhance a persons features. The use of make-up to enhance the physical attributes of the face according to logic can be used as a comparison to describe what the purpose of decoration should be. For this reason Trompe l'oeil cannot be described as decoration, especially when it lacks the underlining architectural structure evident in in traditional Trompe l'oeil, like the Italian Quadraturismo. A painted view of the Amalfian coastline seen through a faux window on a blank wall is a modern Trompe l'oeil painting, as are tropical plants painted on four sides of a room or any number of spectacular feasts for the eye. Decoration on the other hand is designed with just that room in mind, it is does not demand your attention, but it enhances your perception of space, with an intent to comfort.