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.


  1. I completely agree. Good art transcends the medium and connects with the viewer in an emotional and sometimes rather visceral way. It doesn't really matter what the medium is, just that there is a spark that speaks.

    I am often disturbed by the saccharine quality of some art being produced. It is the lack of connection, the nearly rote attempt to document a landscape or event, without a real or deep translation by the artist, that troubles me most. Occasionally though, I do see a work that makes the most banal of subjects sing anew.

    I've only recently found your blog and am enjoying looking your work.

    Looking forward to more.

  2. Thank you Melinda, It is hard to define that special something that is able to connect and communicate but it is not difficult to recognize.

  3. You raise some important issues in your statement.

    Art that raises questions about a life, or gets personal, hits you in the face, stimulates in some fashion, no mater if the choice is to dislike or like. . . or somewhere down the middle, is more likely to be seen as intimate and embraceable. And for good cause. Because we find commonality within.

    I suppose, it's also a mater of exposure as well. How else can we come to a conclusion if we aren't exposed to a relative amount of possibilities.

    One of the things I find interesting is how quickly our response time is when we totally embrace art that touches our being.

    Thanks Bill. . .


  4. Thank you for your response Micros. All good points.

  5. Nice post. I agree with you William.

    I think art can be a lot of things, but it doesn't need to be anything in particular.

    Beautiful, sublime, transcendent....all lovely words, but definitely not requirements for a work of art.

  6. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=why+beauty+matters+full&oq=why+beauty&gs_l=youtube.1.1.0l10.1970.8257.0.12115.

    This is an interesting point of view


Thank you for your comment, I appreciate your input.