I am an artist, not a writer. My Intent is not to educate, enlighten or inspire but rather to clarify my motivations to myself. I find that when I write down the thoughts and reasons that I take certain paths, it helps me to avoid repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Let's face it, authentic work evolves through a series of mistakes, lessons learned and options eliminated.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Does Art Need to be Beautiful?

“Track 4”  29.5”x 35”

  I like to relate developing an appreciation of art and beauty to that of developing the taste for fine wine. Complexity is the key.  At first you like a sweet wine, probably fruit flavored, maybe served over ice in a fruit jar. The equivalent of a black velvet Elvis in the art world.  As your taste develops, and becomes more sophisticated, you opt for something with more character.  That's not to say that there are no excellent sweet wines, there are, but when talking about art, I correlate beauty with sweetness. A painting of a field of bluebonnets with a farm house in the background and a jersey cow chewing it's cud, can be drop dead gorgeous and appealing, but runs the risk of being devoid of complexity and thus saccharine in it's sweetness.  Art, as well as wine, are both manmade and therefor need to be allowed to reveal the personality and complexity that went into their creation.  A rose by any definition is beautiful, but it owes it's beauty to the divinity of it's creation and purpose of it's design. If the only purpose of a painting is to photographically mimic the perfection of a rose, it becomes an exercise of futility devoid of creativity.  What's the point?.  Don't get me wrong there are plenty paintings of roses that are beautiful while still maintaining character and depth necessary for a good work of art.  It is not about subject matter, it  is about the matter of the subject. I am an abstract painter but I greatly admire many traditional artists. A Musician who performs an existing composition, interjecting his own style and creativity can be just as much of an artist as the person who originally wrote and performed it. Good art transcends, it may be disturbing, It can even be repugnant, but authentic art has grit and character of depth that gives insight into it's nature and origin. It tells a not so obvious story that has to be savored and contemplated to be appreciated.  It is OK not to like a work of art but it is naive not to acknowledge it.  So yes, good art can be beautiful and often times is but it is not necessary and definitely not a prerequisite.