a little east of reality

Saturday, February 16, 2008

good art?

I was interested to read JB's post on recently seeing Van Gogh's art. It made me think about how I interact with art and how long it's been since I took the time to go to the art gallery or view an exhibition of new artists. I need to change that.

Anyway, here's the comment I posted. By the time I finished, it felt like a blog post:

I often get those Walkman-style guides to the art when I see an exhibition. They give real insight into the piece, the artist and what they tried to convey, and sometimes the reasons that piece of art is considered significant or 'good art'. I don't always agree with their conclusions, but sometimes I've genuinely learned to appreciate the painting or artist.

For me personally, good art (or the art I respond to most on an visual or emotional level) is all about the way they use light.

My favourite painting is a small Rembrandt called 'Strawberries'. I had seen a postcard of the painting and liked it, but when I actually saw it at an exhibition I found myself standing in front of it for about fifteen minutes. Though definitely painted and not looking photographically real, it looked like you could have just plucked the strawberries from the painting and eaten them and they would have tasted wonderful. It was like actual strawberries would have looked at the painting and recognised it as how they might look if they went to heaven. That probably sounds a bit silly, but that simple painting of strawberries really captivated me. I wish I could have posted a picture of it, but I can't seem to find it on the web. If I can find my postcard version I'll scan it.

I guess there's some merit in considering what makes good art, but in the end art is always a personal experience, and if we love, or understand, or are moved by, some piece of art considered unworthy by experts, who cares?

What does 'good art' mean to you?

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