The Beauty of Art is that it Defies Definition

Our beautiful creed, written in 1933 by President Emerita Wilma Wilson Sharp, encourages us to find dominant beauty in art, literature, nature and friendships each day. We gladly do that as members of Alpha Sigma Alpha. It’s who we are and what we value. It inspires us and motivates us to see all that the world offers. Yet if someone created one of those silly Facebook memes that asks people “Which one must go: art, literature, nature or friendships?” art wins, because it encompasses the other three. As a whole, they’re all beautiful creations. They’re all art.

Despite what most dictionaries claim, the beauty of art is that it defies definition. I reject the assertion that it’s solely human-created. Tell that to Miss Spider, which spins that delicate yet deadly web. Or to Mr. Maple, which produces inimitable colors each autumn. Or to the regal rose, which graces any garden with its majesty and beauty. Just gaze at the mountains. The oceans. The rivers and streams and grasslands. Even weeds. All art – as is everything that lives in and on them.

An overzealous editor could butcher that line of our creed to read “To find dominant beauty in life.” It would be accurate, but it also would destroy the beauty and cadence of that sentence, which is art in and of itself. Tell me that a book – fact or fiction – has never made you cry, rethink how you approach life or pushed you to change your attitude. That’s literature transforming you, encouraging you to be a better human – to be a more fully fashioned work of art.

And what is more artful than the ability to maintain lifelong friendships? To connect with a stranger walking the same route you do every morning? To pick up where you left off with a sorority sister you haven’t seen since the previous national convention – in person or otherwise? To negotiate those cliffs and crevices of relationships when the wrong thing said or done could lead to estrangement – or worse?

My biological sister is an artist and a graduate gemologist. She’s also a musician, and there’s not an instrument she can’t play. The same applies to her creations. The beauty in her art is that she’s not constrained by definitions, or standards, or rules or expectations. She makes everything around her more beautiful, including what I call her “magic closet,” which is filled with her finds. And she looks to nature for inspiration.

I’m the benefit of her never-ending stream of art and jewelry. My house is filled with her stunning etched, fired glass pieces; her mesmerizing designs on greeting cards and coloring books; her photos of flowers, frogs, bugs and the random peacocks running down her street. She buys vintage hats at flea markets and turns all 40 of them into glam photos, using herself as the model (in myriad hairstyles, naturally).

She sees art everywhere and in everything. I often envy her ability to take disparate items and combine them into something precious. Her latest: broken mirrors, found objects and glass “gems” embedded as mosaics in pavers for her garden. I want them. Of course I do! They’re beautiful, and I never would have thought of pairing all that crazy stuff to make such lovely, intriguing bits of glory.

Where do you find art? Where do you see art? Because of my sister and my sisters, I’ve learned to gaze beyond the wall or the display case and to look up, look down, look all around. To look past the obvious and see every little thing for what it truly is: art. 

Sue Zorichak, BB


2 responses to “The Beauty of Art is that it Defies Definition”

  1. Marianne B. says:

    As always, artfully written.

  2. Elaine F. says:

    How wonderful to hear about your sister and her amazing talent. You are also so creative and imaginative. As a blooming idiot sister of yours, I must say how much I enjoyed this short insight into some interesting aspects of the beauty of art. I also think that you cannot look at the beauty of this world without realizing a wonderful God in charge of all we see. This wonderful gift we should never take for granted.

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