Monday, December 5, 2016

Questions. Answers?

A few days ago, Barney Davey from Art Marketing News, shared an article about NADA Miami Beach 2016. It was the author's pick of the best paintings from the fair. I scrolled through, saw a few things that intrigued me but for the most part they left me scratching my head- not only some of the work but the price tags on the work. My initial gut reaction and the words that went through my head were....

It's all about who you know....
It's who has the marketing and promotional bucks to spend....
It's not about good work anymore....
It's about who can get away with pulling the wool over people's eyes....
Of course art is subjective but what the hell happened to design and composition- the building blocks of good art? Abstract or non-representational art still requires the elements of design.

Then I thought..... is it just sour grapes on my part? Maybe I'm just jealous because I can't command $20,000 or more for a piece of my own work. Of course I wish I could get those prices and who knows, maybe someday I will. Maybe there was some sadness mixed in, thinking that so many people have been convinced that this is good art worthy of the hefty price tags.

Are the buyers buying because they can't live without it or have they been told it's a good investment? What do they see in the work that I don't?

Those were my first thoughts. Then my head took over. Yes, art is subjective and art does not have to be about making pretty pictures. Of course it can be but it doesn't have to be. It can be a political statement, a cry against an injustice, a statement about art and society or a painting that's just about color and texture that excites the artist while making it. Of course I know this because I also create work that's not about being a pretty picture such as my symbolic series Silent Voices. I also create work that's just about texture and color in my abstract series.

For a few of those works at the fair, my first inclination is to dismiss it as junk. And maybe some of it is. But maybe there's a backstory to it. Maybe there's a meaning behind it that I haven't learned. What was the artist's intention? As an artist I owe it to another artist to at least find out before relegating it to the trash heap in my mind. 

We end up with more questions than answers. Sometimes I think it's good to look backwards and revisit art history. Look at the evolution of an artist like Mondrian.

Houses on the Gein

The Gray Tree

Composition II in Red, Blue and Yellow

His early works were beautifully rendered landscapes and scenes- soft, subtle and muted in tone. He then transitions to an abstracted version of nature in The Gray Tree. Then much later his work is bold, linear and colorful. It's taking nature's forms and colors to it's most basic and primary elements.

And why not?

My end thoughts.....

It's good to revisit art history
It's good to question
It's good to keep an open mind
It's good to let go of judgement
It's good to find out why.....

Take a look at the article about NADA Miami. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. And now, back to painting.

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