Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Food for thought

Today I've been participating in another drawing Scavenger Hunt and all my drawings seem to revolve around food. Its not surprising really as a lot of art contains food. Still lifes are often composed of fruit and vegetables or flowers, along with the occasional skull or watch or a book with the pages turning often with some of the subject matter fading or decaying to provide a moral lesson to the viewer about the ephemerality of sensory pleasures.

There is no moral in my little drawing here. It is a chocolate bar that I found in the back of the fridge that fit the criteria for an object to draw for the hunt. Of course I can provide some moral lesson about excesses if anyone cares to listen, but I'd really prefer to draw instead. I didn't even eat the chocolate bar. I had a willing volunteer who did that.

I often chuckle when I hear viewers of art converse among themselves about the 'meaning' of art. They constantly seek to uncover the secrets of the artist's thinking as she drew or painting the image. Quite often, there is no hidden meaning, no inner turmoil to discover. It is simply an individual putting marks on paper or canvas as the mood strikes them at a particular time.

It reminds me of something I saw years ago about art critics which blew holes in their thinking. At a zoo, a group of chimpanzees and elephants were give access to paint brushes and paints. The resulting 'art' was then framed and given gallery space at which a vareity of art critics were invited. They oohed and ahhhed over the wonderful mystery artist and talked about the emotion in the paintings and what they were trying to 'say' to the viewer. Needless to say, when they were told who the 'artists' were they were more than a little miffed. But it did prove a point about art criticism - its all relative and totally subjective. What I like you won't like and vice versa. The professional art critics are often posturing. Yes they may base comments on theory, technical skill of the artist, but often it boils down to their own individual taste.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An art critic is a person who specializes in evaluating or critiquing art. Their written critiques, or reviews, are published in newspapers, magazines, books and on web sites. Art collectors and patrons often utilize the advice of art critics.

Typically the art critic views art at exhibitions, galleries, museums or artists' studios.

Professional art critics are expected to have in-depth knowledge of both contemporary art and the history of art, and thus be able to make informed assessments of art. Knowledge, however, provides no guarantee that a critic will know if a work of art, an exhibition, or an artist will stand out in history as "great".

Many now famous and celebrated artists were not recognized by the art critics of their time, often because their art was in a style not yet understood or favored. Conversely, some critics have helped to explain and promote new art movements — Roger Fry with the Post-Impressionist movement for example.

In art, as in most of life, its not what you know, its who you know. If you can find your way into the circle of influence and money, you can make a name for yourself. If you can find an influential person to buy a piece of your art, others will follow as people emulate others who they want to be like or associate with. Sometimes the quality of the art doesn't even matter. If the right person has it, the lemmings will follow.

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jm said...

Interesting post! And I think you are right.

You should check out Umberto Eco's essay, "How to Write an Introduction to an Art Catalogue." His satirical view of it is hilarious.

Mary said...

So true, Jeanette! Your chocolate bar made me crave some.

Jeanette Jobson said...

I will check that out jm, sounds interesting.

Mary, always satisfy the need for chocolate. Its a food group in its own right. :o)

Anonymous said...

Jeanette...Your chocolate bar looks really good! I especially like the color of the wrapper...Do you like working with graphitints? I have read that some people don't like them because they are dull and not bright enough.


Jeanette Jobson said...

Thanks Debbie, I like the subtle colours of the graphitints, but I also intermix them with other watercolour pencils to obtain the colours I want such as yellows and reds that Derwent don't produce in the graphitints. But overall, yes I do like them very much. I think they work best for landscapes and animals.