As symbols, every picture and for that matter, any word, implies a previous and/or a following action. Many times the implications are very simple; a man on a door implies ‘Men’s room.’ Other times, an object in space has much more to ‘say’ concerning its role in society, well-known history, common usage, double entendres, mental closure, function, usual ties to other objects, and context. The more complicated the pictures and words, the more that can be extrapolated from the ‘part-of-the-whole.’ A drawing’s shading implies the location and prominence of lights in a room, just as resonant audio would imply its size. A drawing’s lack of shading may have been an intent of the artist to emphasize a contoured iconographic style, perhaps. By showing a large portion of the whole, the artist makes a very different statement than by showing a focused one. This can even be the moment for a juxtaposition, wherein what is acceptable or even mentally expected is then replaces by its polar opposite, or a non-sequitur, some wholly unexpected thing. This opens up all forms of comedy, socio-political satire, and intense visual stimulation. The suddenly clever thing to do is then to reveal several meanings at once to the audience. Perhaps the meaning is intentional (and the level of this that the author reveals is discretionary), or perhaps too much is read into coincidence, but even this becomes part of its philosophy. If meaning can be ascribed an object, and is internalized by the viewer, then it does contain validity. Indeed, the unintentional mental connections made between otherwise arbitrary elements is what makes enjoying art possible
The audience then, as the only arbiter of his/her own reality, is the true artist. At the final moment in art’s production, which must culminate in audienceship (even if only by the author’s review of it), the artist’s intention is inevitably cast aside in favor of the newer relevant present that the viewer brings to the object. Many artists (or fans of the artists, or critics, for that matter) would stay attached to the original meaning. However, no author would or could have involved every possible interpretation in the creation of the piece, no matter how clever or foresighted. True art lies in subtlety, a craftsmanship in ambiguity, in understanding that the artistic process does terminate in the necessary witness by a viewer, an thus their roles irrevocably linked despite any passage of time.