Friday, September 24, 2010
There is a secret message in art. It stems from the artist’s personal world view reacting to an external set of influences. Sometimes it’s subtle, other times blatant. This is a good thing – thinking about messages, because if art doesn’t contain a clue to the artist’s world view then it is nothing more than a facsimile.
Think about the apple. Most art educations strive to teach the artist how to effectively paint a believable apple. Some will take the artist further, emphasizing the need to paint with beauty or style. Many artists stop here. But an apple without the context of the artist’s point of view lacks one crucial element. The power to communicate.
Imagine an apple painted by Renè Magritte compared to one painted by Cezanne. Or flowers painted by O’Keeffe, compared to Van Gogh - or Mapplethorpe. Because each artist communicated a personal world view, we have an immediate mental image. We understand something that can't be put into words.
This is context.
Experienced artists have learned the skill set required to not only create beautiful images but to instill this sense of context. They know not everyone will agree with them, or like the art they produce. Times change, tastes change, but one thing never changes.
A facsimile has no meaning at all, with a shelf life that’s down around zero.