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Does Art Need to Be Dark to be Taken Seriously?

 
 
patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jul, 2006 08:14 pm
Quote:
I painted that farmer guy because I thought he looked cool, I liked his slight smirk (hey, I painted Gus before I even knew him!) and because it was a good centerpiece for some attempts at capturing farmland in various lights (sunset, storm, clear blue sky). But the viewers only lit up about it when they decided it was an analogy about the "sunset" of the poor, doomed American farmer. Riiiiighhht...


But if it hadn't been evocative in one way or another, who would have attempted to read anything into it at all? Just an expression of the need of a viewer (and especially of a fellow artist) to be on a level with or even one up the composer. You've only got so much control, ultimately, over what you're work means. (Perhaps the most odious art is that which has at its foot a plastic cup full of IDEA instead of a bubbling evanescent wellspring of... dog help me... inspiration. Which is just breathing in, after all.)

wtf?
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patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jul, 2006 08:20 pm
just reminded myself of a shite choreographer I used to know. Old guy, apprenticed under some huge names in the dance world, fancied himself an intellectual. Fantastic B.O. and a big gut hanging over his tights and sweaty package in the studio. Showed me a video once of a piece he'd done about -- and it was about nothing else -- the crash of that airliner that went down off Brooklyn (or was it Long Island?) a decade or two ago. The most horrible, dull, pretentious garbage, and I was supposed to be impressed by it.

Across the hall from him was the late Mel Wong, an excellent dancer, a fun choreographer, and a yo-yo champion. I had the great pleasure of designing lights for Mel one spring. Glad I knew you, Mel...

http://currents.ucsc.edu/03-04/art/wong_yoyo.03-09-22.240.jpg

http://review.ucsc.edu/fall-03/images/Wong.Mel.JPG
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Vivien
 
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Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 08:31 am
I did my degree as a mature student just after your time Soz and I think it was an era of change.

When I started the degree there was a push push push to make work abstract, a constant pressure. As a mature student I went in with maybe a bit more idea of who I was and I was determined to learn everything I could but come out as me, but a better me.

I watched the kids do abstracts with little meaning to them, muddling through slightly bewildered sometimes, doing process paintings, pouring paint down the canvas one way and they another, trying to please the tutors. At the degree show the first year I was there, I felt like some of them were clones - their paintings were the same, no individuality and I promised myself not to go there.

They would then stand and do a dark angst-y spiel about the work and those of us who were painting seriously (well trying to, with much angst of our own!) used to mutter about it! They could rattle a few pieces off pretty quickly and then talk it up.

The uni inspectors came around and commented on this and with some staff changes as well, things changed. Figurative art gained respect again and there was a really healthy diversity.

Less dark art, more variety altogether.

I did a couple of 'dark' projects myself - partly 'cos I realised the angle would appeal to the tutors Smile but also because the project needed it. Other work was landscape/abstracts and about mood along with light, weather,time, colour but not dark at all.

I think art must have something to say, something sustaining and for me my interests are mainly light, colour, form, and in the landscape add seasons and time - I like the 'bones' beneath the land in the same way that the bones of the figure are essential.

There are some really really good artists about over here who are certainly not dark, David Prentice, Kurt Jackson, Ross Loveday, Maggi Hambling, Lucian Freud, David Blackburn, Barbara Rae and loads of others. (all worth googling)

I love the work of Kathe Kollowicz but it was about a dark era and the work rightly reflects it. It wasn't dark as in posing gothic 'art' - I love your equating it to junk food jln! I think pretty-pretty paintings are in the same league - Kincaid for instance, pure junk food.

Paula Rego's work is dark and disturbing and there are others but I'd say the bulk of painting isn't - and it covers a wide spectrum of styles, subjects and media, which I find very healthy.

I never did like Duchamp - like a lot of conceptual work now it isn't sustaining - I feel 'ok, I get it ..... and now what?' I certainly have no wish to see it again.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 09:02 am
Well, my goodness. I thought boomer started this thread, soz. Hmmm. Perhaps this entire thing is conceptualized art. <smile>

A friend of mine once told me, if one likes what they taste and what they see, then it's good. No sense in trying to fake it to align with dilettantes, nor artists who may well be testing the viewing audience.
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coluber2001
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 12:21 pm
I suppose many artist have to go through a struggle, a psychological struggle, and that involves breaking through layers of painful defences. That's one point that artists are trying to make, that a superficial, happy culture is composed of layers of defences. People usually don't go to a psychologist to talk about how happy they are.

On the other hand artists who struggle and break through socially-imposed barriers also find enormous beauty. Edvard Munch, for instance, who is know for his depressive angst-ridden paintings. But his "The Sun" is an extremely positive thing of beauty.

http://www.duoartanddesign.com/images/popup/murals/sun3.jpg
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 01:05 pm
Yes, that is an amazing work--the closest I've seen of a visual depiction of our notion of GLORY.
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hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 01:28 pm
never went to artschool but i do like art (that i can understand Smile .
we hardly ever miss an opportunity to go to an artshow or museum , or go to a cocert or show , but i refuse to go to a great deal of effort 'to understand the meaning' of a painting , sculpture , music .
either i like it or i don't . if i don't undertand a particular piece of art , i don't hold it against the artist ; it's just not my cup-of-tea .
perhaps i'm a rather frivolous person and i don't engage in a lot of ...WELTSCHMERZ...
i think life doesn't need to be darkened .
hbg
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 01:41 pm
Hamburger, I do not feel that art must be "understood"; it is not an intellectual phenomenon so much as it is a sensual aesthetic opportunity to enjoy yourself. I would suggest that you try to sense the beauty in works that you do not understand. Indeed, mystery and ambiguity are major aspects of artistic creativity and appreciation.
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hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 02:03 pm
jl , just to clarify :
this doesn't mean that i do not enjoy new 'pieces' (not a good word) of art of all kinds .
but art has to give me 'enjoyment' , lift my spirits (example : some great music - song , instrumental) for me to 'get with it ' .
it can be classical music (some great opera or operetta ), soothing jazz , a great soloist , it can all give me a great deal of pleasure .
since there is plenty of art (of all kinds) that i enjoy and that gives me pleasure , i really don't see the need to force myself 'to appreciate' art , that i truly don't appreciate .
we all have different tastes and that is truly i good thing .
hbg
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sozobe
 
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Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 02:04 pm
(hamburger is so cool... :-))
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hamburger
 
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Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 02:20 pm
here is a painting by a y jackson of 'the group of seven' .
i get great enjoyment from seeing pictures like that - but they are certainly not the only ones i enjoy .
btw are books "art" ? if they are , i must be a real 'lover of art' Smile .
hbg

http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/news/med/groves.jpg
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farmerman
 
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Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 02:24 pm
How about Keith Haring and his "radiant baby" series? They were taken seriously and they were impish. How about Franz Hals?
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Letty
 
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Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 02:32 pm
I like that one, hamburger. and I love Hals. His was the first picture that yitwail posted to help me to learn doing the picture thing:

Looks a bit like my Cavalier.

http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/hals/laughing.jpg
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farmerman
 
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Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 02:35 pm
jl, what do you consider "gothy and manneristic"?

To me the master of mannerism is El Greco, hes taken seriously No? But hes not Gothy I dnt think.
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hamburger
 
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Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 02:38 pm
"Looks a bit like my Cavalier"

Shocked
Question
Idea
Very Happy Arrow hbg Very Happy
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hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 02:46 pm
this is a great piece of art that we enjoyed seeing in oslo/norway .
the statue is probably about 50-60 feet high and consists of intertwined human bodies - unusual ? perhaps , but be enjoyed seeing it .
we were told that the artist spent quite a few years creating the statue .
whenever he ran out of money , he'd approach city council to ask for more .
apparently city council would often deny his request , and he'd say : "i quit" ! - and the money would start to flow again .(certainly a good story. don't you think ?).
hbg

http://kouignamanalyon.blogspirit.com/images/medium_oslo_monostor.jpg
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hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 02:50 pm
here is another artist whose work we enjoy very much (we were able to afford a print from the national gallery of canada).
this one is called "the sugarshack" .
hbg

http://www.collectionscanada.ca/art/images/art/e000756690_md.jpg
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yitwail
 
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Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 02:58 pm
http://members.aol.com/BlckRseZ26/ewok.jpg

*not* my "cavalier"
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 03:06 pm
love that statue, hamburger. It's a bit dark but beautiful.

Hey, here's is what I meant about my Cavalier:

http://www.kwcps.k12.va.us/Schools/KWHS/Assets/KWHSCav.gif

Great, Mr. Turtle. I do believe that the Cavalier you helped me with had a cat around his neck.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 05:19 pm
HB, nice response.
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