Thursday, September 16, 2010

What's the Meaning of All This?

I just watched a YouTube video of an abstract artist at work. Lots of interesting techniques -- paint spread over huge boards with huge metal spreaders (can't think of a better word). Thin paint splooshed on over artwork. Artwork tilted so paint runs and spreads. Random dabs of paint. More paint spreading.

Voila! Art! While I did enjoy the video and enjoy looking at the artwork, I think that my enjoyment would be short-lived if I had to live with the artwork.

I could not see the meaning behind the piece. Yes, I'm sure the artist enjoyed making it, and from what I can tell, his artwork sells. A photo of a restaurant displaying his work was included.

Hubby and I went to close on our home refinancing the other day. Lawyer's office. Lots of "corporate" art. Hubby suggests I think about this approach to art. Other than an "arrangement" of splotches of color, I could see no meaning behind the work. I guess that in a corporate environment, it is best to avoid meaning in artwork, lest someone be offended.

Something is missing. Meaning, context, story, love, hate, some kind of emotion. Is it just me, or do others want something from their art? I must say that I don't care for art that displays blood, gore, violence, etc. But, there's gotta be something. I've got to connect. Apparently, there is no need to connect with corporate art. Its just there to look pretty as you pass by the lobby,sit in the conference room to sign a few papers, or wait for an empty table.

I don't want to just throw some art materials at a surface, hope something sticks, sell it, and do it again and again. Or do I?

I sure would like to make some money.

What are you looking for in art? What draws you to a piece? What makes you want to own it or visit it over and over again in a museum? If you are an artist, what makes you want to create something?

Help me here. I'm looking for meaning.


paula said...

i agree with much of this but i also think that looking for meaning is a waste of time. its a head trip. it is how it feels that works best for me. nothing means anything, only what you want it to mean.
having said that....
What are you looking for in art?
i'm not looking for anything, if it strikes me, intrigues me interests me great. even then, might not mean i want it. i like to be stimulated, intrigued, touched.

What draws you to a piece?
see above

What makes you want to own it or visit it over and over again in a museum?
to own it right now, nothing as i am broke and a minimalist but i can 'want' to own it. mostly when i get to know an artist that i when i want something from them (but again, not happening right now) the only art i would want to revisit would be john chamberlains (sp) metal work. to be challenged and stimulated. work that makes me want to learn more etc probably

If you are an artist, what makes you want to create something?

there is no answer for that. it is IN me. i am attracted to the objects that i am for no known reason and the sense of experimentation, joy from touching and working with those objects is what stimulates me.


Anonymous said...

What looking for in art is quite simple - an emotional response. That's it. Sometimes I find that in seemingly simple things, like Resurection Fern's crocheted rocks - the first time I saw her photograph of them, it felt like my chest opened into a space bigger than my ribs could possibly contain and tears came to my eyes. To this day, I don't know why, but I bought the photograph.

And I have oils, acrylics, pastels, water colours, photographs, prints, collage pieces and sculptures in my house - lots of them - all unified by the same principal - I feel something when I look at them. (Though as a group on their own, they probably wouldn't play well together. *heh*)

And so, the other day, someone commented that when they looked at my latest challenge piece, they felt melancholy (and that was without reading what the meaning of it was); and I told her I was grateful. If my work inspires an emotional response, how amazing!

I know I won't always get that response - and most often, because I'm new at textile art, I'm just working a technique - but I hope that eventually, my work will be true enough to me, to also inspire an emotional response.

Long answer x2! :)


Rita Vindedzis said...

What makes me want to create something??? What makes me want to pick up that brush and paint??

For me it's plain and simple. Money. Income. I need to help pay for the mortgage, bills etc and I refuse to go and work for someone else anymore. That means that sometimes I don't have the luxury of painting "what moves me' or "waiting for the right mood" to paint. It's my job and I paint what needs to be painted at the moment. If my birches paintings are moving well at gallery A then I paint birches for them. If I get a call to hang paintings in a corporate setting (mainly generic abstracts) then that's what I paint. I'm in this to make a living and I've learned to ignore the art snobs. I don't get offended when someone asks me to paint them a painting in certain colors to match their decor. For me it's a business, it's my job.

I must say though that the whole "art world" astounds me. And don't get me started on conceptual art!! LOL!!

Missouri Bend Paper Works said...

I totally understand the feelings you are expressing and somehow I think it is connected to the idea of the search. I think, both in the making and seeing, I am looking for an experience of discovery, newness in ideas or even something simple, like the way color lays next to could be anything, but it needs to take me to another place. It's just as Kit said in the comment before about seeing something and having yourself open up...larger. And I know exactly what she's talking about with those crocheted rocks....I had the same reaction. I think that kind of reaction to the visual arts, literature, music, etc. as akin to heartbreak...but in a very good way!

Bridgette Guerzon Mills said...

I read/heard somewhere that a piece of art resonates with you when it reflects yourself back at yourself. Or you recognize yourself in it. I'm pretty sure that it was said much better than I just wrote it! ha! But I agree with the general idea. I have bought a few pieces of original art and with the exception of one, I would say that the other pieces all give me a sense of peace or calm when i see them. So whether there is a story behind the piece or not, whether it's realistic or abstract, they all make me happy when my eyes fall on them. Now, I'm pretty sure you know me well enough to know that these aren't paintings of cutesy, frolicking meadows. well, meadows can't frolick, but you know what I mean. :)
very good questions. I'm going to think on it some more

ArtPropelled said...

When a piece of art "speaks" to me I often feel tears welling and my heart races. It's an emotional response. It doesn't have to tell a story but it must evoke a feeling. I'm addicted to the feeling I get whilst creating my own art. I can sense the tension drifting away immediately, like a sigh. The meditative state that follows is what I aim for. If I like the piece once its completed it's pure joy.

Deidre said...

What a great topic. And what great, thoughtful comments. I found myself nodding in agreement with all of them.

I think it's fair to say that "meaning" in an artwork varies for each person, and wasn't it Duchamp who said that it's the viewers who make the meaning?

I do agree that there is a lot of art that is just "pretty," and has no deep concept or even a level of commitment behind it, but it exists because for many people, it's easy to relate to; it's not threatening and it doesn't require a knowledge of art in order to "get" it. My mother-in-law is quite enthralled with her Thomas Kincaid print, and who am I to deny her that pleasure? On the other hand, a lot of work may have a story or context, even a very deep emotional connection, but for me, if I don't connect with the visual expression of it, then my enjoyment is non-existent.

As someone who works abstractly, I have a very deep connection with my process and materials. There is a context behind the work, but it doesn't matter to me whether the viewer knows that or not. Some will feel a connection with it; many more will not, but that's OK. Great, actually, because that's what makes the world interesting: we're all different.

Having said that, what I probably respond to most readily in art is something that reflects my own sense of aesthetics – a sense of depth and texture, dimension, complex color use, obsessive process. On the other hand, I love that spark I feel when I see something totally new yet familiar, an instant feeling of jealous admiration, a wish that I had made that!

Missouri Bend Paper Works said...

Deidre just put my sentiments down exactly...thanks! (instant feeling of jealous admiration too...LOL!)