Friday, October 21, 2005

Art In America (Part Two)

One of my favorite Abstract Impressionists is Jackson Pollock. The guy who did the paint splatters. Don’t think 1980s fashion, think purposefully designed layers of color put down over time to form dynamic, expressive and textured compositions. This was called Action Painting and you can see why. What was he saying? What was he proving? I don’t think he was saying anything and that’s where the confusion comes in. People think that each painting “says” something. If it doesn’t “speak” to them it’s not art. Art is not that literal all the time. Sometimes it is full of symbolism and allegory. Sometimes it’s an experiment in color and form and space. Sometimes it’s a celebration of beauty or even strangeness or ugliness. I’ve been lost in a Jackson Pollock painting for long spaces of time. Sometimes it’s like watching a moving picture.

Art communicates but it is not communication. Art cannot heal. Art is not more important than human life. Art has a place. Anywhere it can be seen. But it doesn't have to be inside a museum. A tagger or graffiti artist is an artist if he cares for the thing he creates. A filmmaker is an artist if what she makes intends to impress on the viewer something more than the words and pictures. Art is always more than the sum of its parts.

Picasso and Braque are two of the most famous painters in the Cubism movement. They are fine examples of that movement which is shared by Jackson Pollock, Abstract Impressionism. Instead of forgoing figure and representation they took figure and representation and broke it down. They examined it not only in its parts but also in its movement represented by lines, shapes and color. They abstracted faces and interweaved them with the pieces of other objects. It is an analytical approach to representation, mostly using earthy colors, a backlash against Impressionism that celebrated color and light.

As a fan of art I feel that art that doesn't make you sit there and contemplate at least for a few minutes hasn't done its job. At least my personal favorite artworks do that for me. I’ve seen art make of feces and it doesn't make me think of anything more than what it is. I've seen paintings that I've stared at for a long time and then returned for more. Like a font I come back to it because I thirst for it again and again. It draws me to it like a magnet. I am impressed and astounded not only by the forms, figures and colors but the time it was done. The person who did it.

That is what makes art so special that it is created by people. It is not accidental. You can find things in nature or that occur by accident and frame them and make them art but the point of view of a person behind the creation or the framing is what makes it art. When it comes down to it, a flower is beautiful but it is not art. But if you take that flower and put it in a frame and arrange it, you’ve made it art.



DLAK said...

Yup, some good points. I would just like to ad - Fuck Picasso.

ObilonKenobi said...

Ummm... OK?

DLAK said...

You dont seam to understand me, I meant FUCK Picasso! lol...I'm just messin with you holmes, its all good.

melly said...

Of course I recognize most of what you said in parts one and two :)

Plus you mentioned some of my favourite artists. I even "got" Pollock, and I don't usually like abstract that much.

About that last sentence though, about the flower, just to make sure - you don't think any digital photograph of a flower in a frame is art? Do you?

ObilonKenobi said...


Yeah. That's what I meant. If you take a picture of a flower and arrange it in such a way that it looks appealing then it is art. It may not be art I think is interesting and it takes little effort but it is art. Frame and hang it on the wall and in the right context it is great art. Take Georgia O'Keefe (one of my favorites). She has done amazing things with flowers. Also take Impressionism, again, amazing things with flowers. OK so if I take a digital picture of a flower and hang it on my wall it's not great art but it's art. If you go outside and look at a flower, it's not art. It's a flower that is beautiful. The difference is intent. Now I never said it was good art...

melly said...

I have nothing against flowers, some of my best friends are... :)
My problem with it is that any joker can today buy a digital camera and take flower pictures. It takes something else to make that picture art. But that's my opinion and I understand yours and where you're coming from.

ObilonKenobi said...

I agree with you. I think that any joker can take a picture and call it art even if it's terrible. If I go around saying that everyone who takes a picture is an artist I'd be doing a great disservice to great artists who study their craft and do it on a level that is above the average picture taker then I dilute the actual craft of the artist. I understand that. But I wouldn't disuade anyone who wants to create art to pick up a camera and begin taking pictures and over the years improve themselves. I'd say the art is not good. But it is art because the artist intends it to be with sincerity. If you are sincere then you won't be blase about it.

BTW, Melly. what is your favorite type of art? If you were in amuseum what would attract you the most?

Anonymous said...

The visual interpretation of a subject through an artist's eyes and onto any type of medium is what makes a subject art.

Show a close-up of the flower you are referencing, as a photo (or whatever), in a way that someone has not looked at that flower before and the shapes and the relationship of the shapes as a whole is what makes that flower art.

Even if you had a single flower in a field, with its location in the composition off centered... that composition is what could make it art as well- whether it was making a statement or not.

Art is in the eye of the beholder. Good art... well, that's another thing and is what this blog is about!!

-janice :)

ObilonKenobi said...

Hey. Thanks for the comment Janice. I wonder what you think about the debate between ID and Evolution?

The real Magee said...

Art is connectedness with an interior spirit that is a part of
you being. Art is the process of becoming one with the paint,the motif, real or imagined, and your own energy/handwriting. Art has a mind of its own, or perhaps it is
a part of your mind that is mostly
untouchable. Art transends time and
place, as the artist so connected to his own energy and the energy of
his or her perception, is carried on a path of discovery. I am a painter. I was also an art theipist, and spent far to many years as an art director in advertising. I paint expressionisticly, either from a motife, or from some unknown perception that guides me stroke by
stroke, colour by colour. Paintings paint you, you do not paint paintings. You are purely the
musician listening to your heartbeat. The end result is a wonderful surprise. It is not that the foundation of draftmenship, an
understanding of colour, geometry or all the othe elements of perception leave you when you are iin this process of grace, They are
part of your programing, and you just don't have to think about them. It is that transendent process that takes your breath away when you look at a Mondigliani, or all the different reds in a portrait of madame Cezanne, or the sophistication of
Klee, or one of DeKooning's ladies
red lips. Painting is also about the sound of paint, just stare closely at a monet, soutine or rembrant. There aren't may real artists much hype, too much pressure to produce a much of nothing.