What Do You See?

Innocence RippedIn a recent crit I heard feedback which suggested that my intent was not clear in this piece. Perhaps, however it is difficult at best to find the tipping point between between being too obvious and too ambiguous. Many argue that work that doesn’t allow the viewer to explore the image or symbols within the image cheats the viewer out of a personal dialog with the work. Contrary to that is the idea that we live in a time where society needs speed and instant gratification. So  wherein lays the balance? It would seem that one must consider the audience more than anything. Where will the work be displayed and just who is expected to see it, and just how close will the viewer examine it? Providing time to think about what one is viewing as one stands in front of art falls primarily upon the artist and perhaps the gallery as well. The visual hook must be sufficient to plant the viewer where he/ she stands long enough to “get it.” Given the average viewer’s short attention span it would seem logical to hit the eye of the viewer with a lot of information in bursts that keep the eye and the mind on the move, falling just short of overload. This pertains to visual work, drawing, painting and sculpture, in a different way than audio visual work where the possibility for overload is far greater in a shorter period if the clips are fast moving as they are in many films today. So why am I writing this blog today, I guess I am trying to work out the puzzel for myself by thinking out loud about the ceramic piece I have included in this post. It is of my own creation. Its heart shaped outline is approximately 24 by 28 inches in stoneware with a bronze glaze over most of it exclusive of  a white underglaze on what is for me a dove/soul symbol. Carved into the area near the neck was a very visible Star of David which I allowed the glaze to partially obscure in order to avoid being too obvious. Perhaps I covered it too much, perhaps not. It depends upon who is looking and how high up the “art food chain” they might be. The higher up the chain the further away from the the average viewer’s art education which may be minimal at best. When I was in a writing class in college I was told that I should learn to write to a wider audience and then I was shown a copy of the local Newsday paper. Here the teacher said is the goal so you need to be less sophisticated. Of course the paper is written to an 8th grade level and there is a comparison in the making. Does one make art to an 8th grade level or does one go for the highest? I think you have to go all the way if you want to hook the big art fish some day. You do however have to eat, so making art “cookies” for sale is still perhaps a good idea. So where is the balance between being too overt and too simplistic, I am still not exactly settled but writing this has brought me closer to the key. Just in case minimalism popped into anyones head, let it float away because it is anything but simplistic. That is another topic for another time. If any one would like to ring in on these thoughts please chime away.

God Bless


About marcisaacs

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