Sunday, October 20, 2019

Realism to abstract, it's a journey

Watching people walking around the gallery it's interesting to watch people and listen to what they say.
Some are very certain that only photo realism is 'real art'. In fact recently someone left a comment to that effect for one of our photo realism artists. Some think that our folk art potter's work is a delight, others that's junk. 
I often wonder what it is that has formed their opinions.
Is it exposure, or lack there of, to various arts and artists? a conservative nature in general? or conversely exposure to other cultures, places and ideas that have lead to their opinions. 
I know my own opinions have evolved with time and exposure.  I spent 4 years studying the old masters, and learning the basics of composition and technique, it took exploration of my own to really 'get' the modern masters and abstraction.
To be honest I still don't get all of it, but I've learned that seeing art 'for real' makes a huge difference. A Jackson Pollock seen in a book is NOTHING like seeing it in a gallery, the same with Calder, or Warhol.   
Seeing the progression of an artist's work and learning about the world they lived in also  makes a difference.  I recently saw a slide show of Piet Mondrian's  body of work and the progressive simplification suddenly put everything in perspective.  The work he is most know for didn't just suddenly spring into being.
For most of  the famous abstractionists  the same holds true, Picasso was classically trained, as was Roy Lichtenstein and many others who trained in the classics used them as a spring board to explore art making in the abstract. 
I too started out doing photo realism, leaning slowly into expressionist work, and now into somewhat abstract work. It's a journey that many artists take. Learning what is important to tell the stories that are important to them and what can/should be discarded so that, that story is clear and resonant.
What do you think?

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