Talking about art is easy. Talking about art is hard. Art can be whatever you make of it.
Confused yet? If so, you are in good company. We are educated in reason and deduction, from the time we start to learn. There are right answers, and there are wrong answers. There are good actions, and there are bad actions. There is a right way to spell, do math, write essays, play the game, stand in line, etc. etc… When we accomplish a task correctly, we get an answer that is right. Our natural world operates on laws of physics, and returns fairly consistent results. 1+1=2 , and so on.
Aesthetics and art appreciation operate in a different way. We each experience a work of art in another manner altogether, approaching it from our own perspective. When we receive a new visitor into the gallery, it is difficult to predict what work will catch their eye. We have several artists from here in the county, expressing themselves in a variety of ways. We have landscape painters, depicting awe-inspiring skies and meandering waterways. We have artists painting for the sake of painting, whom push and pull their pigments with no intention of depicting something based in reality. As many different images we exhibit, we have as many preferences in the types of works purchased here at the gallery by the patrons.
Sometimes a painting will move the viewer on the basis of familiarity. It reminds them of a memory from their childhood. Other times the viewer will revel in the intensity of a color (I like blue) or the texture of the brushstrokes. No matter what attracts them, the common thread is that it stirs something inside them.
Through its visual presentation, a humble arrangement of the most basic materials, a work of art can provoke an emotional response. The ‘meaning’ of a work is as dependent on the viewer as it is the artist. An artist’s best intentions can be derailed by outside influences and the setting in which it is presented. In our modern world we are overwhelmed by images. Images so fine-tuned, we become desensitized by the refinement of the ideal image. Contemporary art has to function on several levels. The strongest images are those which strike chords, harmonizing content, materials and presentation.
Concept becomes as significant as the technical skills necessary to create a work of art. The next time you encounter an image that moves you, ask yourself how the arrangement is able to do so. Ultimately, a visual work must excite the eyes as a gourmet meal may affect the tongue. When you enjoy the optical and mental stimulation of a painting as you may savor a cupcake, you are experiencing the expression as it was meant to be. Sharing your experience with others is the next step towards appreciating what the artist has presented. Comparing your experience with your neighbor, you enhance your perspective and enrich their experience as well.
Unlike the fleeting flavors of a meal, or the last notes of a song, a painting endures without being consumed or requiring energy to sustain beyond light. A work of fine art is an heirloom, able to reach across generations. Especially with our modern connectivity, an image may exceed the reach of the artists far into the future. Take the time to find your favorite visual flavors, and share those with others. Together we will build a new community of creative expression, reflection and inspiration.