We’ve stepped in it now

We’ve gotten a ton of readership and responses to our last post. Who would have thought that stating the obvious, that good art is good art regardless of style, could have stirred up such feelings? We shouldn’t have been surprised though since we’ve talked to hundreds of representational artists over the past few years who feel under appreciated and marginalized because their preferred way of working isn’t considered cool by the reigning art powers (curators, critics and theoreticians). We’ve also talked to hundreds of non-objective artists who claim that the larger public still doesn’t understand or support their type of work.

Make no mistake, those who make a living trying to fashion public sentiment about the latest art movement aren’t necessarily wrong or venal. But they are personally invested in the outcome and their opinions should be considered in that light. And just as obviously, the public at large will always be more receptive to representational art because it is initially more accessible.

In the end, art is personal and what appeals to one viewer does not appeal to another. It will always be this way and we are damn glad of it. This is not to say that all art is equal. There are obvious (to the thoughtful viewer) degrees of skill and creativity evidenced in some masterful works that are absent in others. There is great conceptual art and there is conceptual art that is total crap. Likewise there are some wonderful representational painters and some who should take up another occupation.

We all have personal preferences that influence why we are drawn to one style of work over another, but it would be a great thing if we disregarded all the labels and simply experienced each work on its own merits. This is a richer way to enjoy the pleasures of art and frankly it is the only intellectually honest way of evaluating the “worth” of a particular piece of art no matter the style. Dare we say it – if you do otherwise you are just following what is fashionable or being a lazy viewer rather than thinking for yourself. Uh-oh we’ve really stepped in it now.

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3 responses to “We’ve stepped in it now

  1. Please, keep stepping in it. Common sense is so uncommon. I would suggest that we, the artists themselves, have been a very large part of the problem. In my learning and pursuit of visual excellence, I have had many interactions with great artists and academics in multiple genres. Always, if you interact enough, you will hear it; the negative comment or put down of another’s work. Many reasons for it; sincere belief in their own narrow area of pursuit, some, self-promotion; mostly, I think, just bad habit and passing on comments we have heard on the way up, from others in our niche. In pursuing representational painting, I have been incredibly guilty myself. I have recently realized the benefit of closing my mouth, asking questions and truly listening. Figuring out what another person is doing, their techniques, their concepts. It can only add to my own pursuit. I would suggest to all artists, that until we change the very nature of the conversations we have among ourselves, that we cannot expect the outside world to follow that example. We truly must “seek first to understand before trying to be understood.”

  2. deloneynewkirkgalleries

    With that spirit we will all “see with new eyes” and be richer for it. Very well said!

  3. Allowing oneself to be free of prejudices and preconceptions can only lead to a more full experience of creativity. Using these same freedoms will also lead to innovation and invention, that is, progress. Progress to enrich one’s own self and for others to pick up where you have left off and to carry on further. To reiterate a point already stated, everyone should be open minded enough to at least look and listen to new stimuli and not just condemn everything that isn’t exactly like what they have been used to hearing and seeing.

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