1
   

Does Art Need to Be Dark to be Taken Seriously?

 
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 08:33 pm
Saw something I did love by him at the Art Institute in Chicago, Pd. (I'm not completely blocked..)


We all approach this talk from different experiences. So, what does that say about light and dark subjects and their worth?





I'm reading a recent novel by a fellow named McLarty, title Memory of Running. It's all about the trip of a guy who lost his mother and father and sister on one particular day, a day when he was depressed to start with. It's a first novel. I think of it as painterly as he describes his minute by minute or hour or day or week's or year's point of view.

The book so far has as much light as dark, with the darks being quite dark. Well, to now, as I'm only on page 238.

So, if you will bear with me, this reminds me of one of Shewolf's photo threads, where Boomer tells her about the tenscale thing. That photography works by all these different contrasts..


Light and dark need each other.
0 Replies
 
patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 08:35 pm
chiarascura
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 08:36 pm
To answer myself, of course light and dark don't need each other.



Still, their engagement enchants...
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 08:38 pm
Which brings up, ta da, Caravaggio. Now there is a painter I'm mad for. Bit of the dark side.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 08:41 pm
-o, I think.

That's true, that's true. This was a tentatively-held idea in the first place (a stronger idea half-remembered), and is really more about the kinds of criticism you'll find on websites and among "keen amateurs" (fellow classmates, for example). I've observed a major bias towards "dark" (and often, to me, ridiculously pretentious) (and I HATE pretentious) art + literature, which I think is facile and generally dumb.

The tangents have gone more towards art in general, through the ages, which certainly fits with the title and is interesting too so I don't object in the least, even though it was not where I started.

I definitely don't think there has to be an either/or situation, that I like playful, colorful, "happy" art therefore I don't like "dark" art. I think a lot of my favorite things have them all entertwined like you mention, and the evocativeness that patiodog mentioned. Stuff that isn't too cut and dried.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 08:42 pm
Caravaggio is definitely playful, though, and definitely... epicurian? All that luscious fruit, all those lovely boys...
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 08:47 pm
... but a bit overripe, too.

(Caravaggio, he's a good example of the mix I like. Light, dark, straightforward, ironic.)
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 08:47 pm
Osso, I think light and dark DO need each other. Let me rephrase that: lightER and darkER need each other--or at least the painting needs them. A painting must have some variety in dark and light VALUES. Otherwise there is no deliniation of shapes, of foreground and background, movement, etc. etc., just a static monoform.
0 Replies
 
patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 08:47 pm
heh heh (to quote nimh) -- playful...

http://www.griseldaonline.it/foto/allegro_severi/caravaggio%20(giuditta).jpg
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 08:50 pm
I knew you would do that!

OK not you but somebody, and of course it WOULD be you.

OK not playful per se, but you have the lovely and the ugly...

(gotta go, g'night!)
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 08:51 pm
I bet that's Judith and Holofernes, heh heh, snicker.


JL, I regreted a minute after I posted it. Yeah, in art they need each other. You know, I type 'fore thought.
0 Replies
 
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Jul, 2006 07:26 am
My background is music history rather than art history, so it'd be interesting to get some input from y'all about how the two fields line up with each other, but in classical music the lingering academic bias in favor of "dark music" over "happy music" owes quite a lot to the Cold War, when accessibility and optimism were associated with socialist realism and totalitarian regimes while obscurity and pessimism were associated with Western artistic freedom. "Happy music" was something Soviet composers were being forced to write on the threat of execution, so audience-alienating avant-gardism of the kind that Boulez and Stockhausen were writing was billed as the necessary (and only) alternative. (The web journal Open Democracy recently ran an interesting article on the analogous situation of art in North Korea today.)

It's an outmoded conception of music these day (I'd like to think), but many composers and music critics still adhere to it. Broadly speaking I don't think this polarization holds much water, but I have to admit that there is something compelling (if not always convincing) about the idea that the 20th century, with all its bloody horrors, made "happy music" seem a little less digestible; I can vaguely understand why a composer would think of "happy music" as a lie or a denial. (It's partly why I like Boulez and Stockhausen; their music evokes a vivid picture of the things we've been through in the past few decades, though they would probably object to this kind of interpretation.) On the other hand, maybe it's because of the awful 20th century that we need happy art to help us cope.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Jul, 2006 07:31 am
Really thoughtful post, thanks.

Yeah, I think a lot of art -- any kind -- is about casting off the chains of [name your oppression] and expressing oneself freely, and that this central impulse leads to a lot of rebellion against immediately preceding tastes in art. So you have the happy sad happy sad cycles (it does seem like the early 90's were a dark/ sad cycle, that was then reacted against).

That's in the official, "real" art world. I think that parallel to but separate from that, amateurs who sortofbutdon'treally get it tend to gravitate towards "dark" art because it seems more... serious.
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Jul, 2006 10:37 am
Speaking of non-professional (amateur) art, it's also true that dark art is really easier to do. If you're not very good at drawing some specific object, just make it murky enough and nobody will notice. I suspect that the same is true of music -- isn't it easier for an amateur to write an atonal score? And don't get me started on poetry. Dime-a-dozen 'poets' write stuff that's supposed to be profound when, in fact, it is just incomprehensible (to the writer as well as the reader, I suspect).
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Jul, 2006 04:26 pm
I think it was Stendahl who said that BEAUTY is the promise of happiness. He did not say happy paintings or musical compositions; he said beautiful ones. I find the statement interesting. I know that beauty is a great consolation (and promise of the future experience of beauty).This beauty may very certainly be "dark" as with the tragic expressions of Schumann. But that "darkness", if beautiful, is a paradoxical source of joy.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Jul, 2006 04:39 pm
I know we've discussed beauty before, JLN. I have gone on and on in a couple of forums about how my idea of beauty is "fit". Wish I could just quote myself, since I remember being satisfied with how I expressed that at the time. I'll ramble then instead. To me, fit embodies a lot of contradictions in some kind of balance, or off-balance - movement with stillness, variations in color or near misses in color, symmetry or asymmetry or some of both, rhythm or stasis or a mix of them... and that's not even starting on apparent subject matter. I'm just using words to say that what I think of as fit is complicated. What I think of as art is complicated. Something that looks simple may not have come easy, and something that looks complicated may be thoughtless. Dark and light re emotional tone are just one more part of the play for me.

Signed,
someone whose work looks pretty traditional, not at all always happy, but my recent works have been deemed serene - now there's a deadly word.. (but what of the two storms?)

Er, people do ask to see my work on a2k from time to time, and I've posted some of it (not the two storm paintings), and may again. But, I also like talking about all this without a photo of a work in front of me.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Jul, 2006 05:32 pm
When I talk about "beauty" as subjective experience (as opposed to some objective characteristics, i.e., the difference between a typical work by Munch and by Kincaid) I think of the term "resonance"--the fit between the characteristics of a work and the needs or disposition of my mind at any particular moment. Resonance explains perhaps why one day I'll love a work and the next be almost indifferent to it.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Jul, 2006 06:01 pm
That too, I've felt that too. All part of a continuum. Well, continuum may be trite, just reaching for words. I don't usually speak in art history/intellectual terms (there was another old thread) amd can be defensive.
0 Replies
 
Vivien
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Jul, 2006 08:21 am
your work may be traditional in some ways Osso but it's also quite contemporary in some ways and has something to say

Good points Soz about amateurswhodon'tquitegetit!

I've always said there's a strong similarity between music and art - jazz vs classical, modern/abstract vs figurative, everydetailpainted.

Dark as in anguished, is terrible when done badly - terrible in the wrong way!
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Jul, 2006 01:51 pm
And, of course, art can be very dark, i.e., deeply sad (Munch, Kollwitz) or with very ugly subject matter (Bacon, Franta) and yet be very aesthetic--which is to say great art.

By the way, nobody seems to know Franta (Frantisek Merte). He makes images much like some of the Bacon's):
http://www.artnet.com/Artists/LotDetailPage.aspx?lot_id=127A0B16E99DC0F4
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

 
Copyright © 2020 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 09/28/2020 at 08:14:26