“Any sort of pretension produces mediocrity in life and in art.” Margot Fonteyn (from brainy quotes)
While walking around at a large art exhibit, (see “Voices”), my friend and I overheard various comments and opinions on the art. One conversation left us so puzzled that it continues to produce a smile even now. It was the perfect stereotype of a conversation many people, think goes on at an art exhibit.
Two people are standing in front of a large abstract painting. Each is holding a glass of wine while discussing the painting. As we leaned in to listen, one said to the other, “But is it ethically valid?” My friend and I looked back at the painting while trying to contain our confusion. “Huh?”
I’m thinking, “Hmmm. Ethical and valid. What does that have to do with this painting?” Maybe the title gave an indication but I couldn’t see the title. I lost track of the beauty of the piece in trying to figure what that statement could possibly mean in relation to the painting. I’m still shaking my head years later. Maybe others can enlighten me. I didn’t get it.
Evidently mom was right when she said, “Talking too much and eavesdropping can both have unintended consequences.” I didn’t realize at the time, she was referring to art.
Does art speak for itself?
Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.”
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (from Goodreads.com)
Many artists become attached to paintings. Each painting is a self -portrait in a sense, regardless of subject. Creating a work can feel almost like birthing a child. It’s hard to abandon a painting for someone else to possess when so much of self is in it. Abandonment is painful. And once the painting is gone the abandonment is complete. Maybe we delay completion, to delay the pain of separation. Each artwork is the outward expression of an inner emotional reaction. It can be difficult to let go of that response. In some ways, it feels like abandoning our self to someone else.
Artist Emily Rose describes her process of emotional expression through her painting. Depending on the emotional space of the artist, as Emily Rose describes it, a painting can possess various levels of the manifestation of feelings. Likely, this same thing happens to many of us. A painting then becomes the outward symbol of our inner feelings. Letting go of a painting means letting go of inner feelings.
How do we objectively let go of paintings with feelings splattered all over them? How have other artists overcome this dilemma? Any suggestions?