Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Does art have to have deep meaning to be good?

The Warehouse
soft pastels on Art Spectrum Colourfix
by Miki Willa
There are so many people out in blog land who have much to say about what art is and what makes good art. There are quite a few people who have differing opinions on the subjects. I didn't want to be left out, so I decided to jump into the fray.
There is a rather large camp who think that a work by an artist must make a statement about the state of the world in some way in order to be considered "real" art. It is not good enough to be sell executed, or to be visually appealing. As I came across these opinions, I wondered what grand statement about the human condition my art makes. So far, I can't see any.
There is another camp that says to be considered good art, it has to be technically well done. It has to follow all the rules. And, it has to convey the feeling of the artist about the subject at hand. I do try and put my feelings into my paintings.
There are also a group of people who think that anything that smacks of realism is not true art, but merely copying. This seems to have been happening in the world of academe for a while. I have known a few people who were not accepted into university art programs because their art was too "predictable and inside the box." But I like realism. Does that mean that what I like isn't art?
I do have more questions than answers in this discussion. However, I have come up with something I think is important. I think art should be celebration. I should celebration human emotions, the beauty of the small stream or majestic mountain, the ingenuity and resilience of humans, and the ways in which the earth reclaims what humans reject over time. There is much more to celebrate in art, and I guess that is what I think my work does. I celebrate the earth in my landscapes. I celebrate the power of water in my waterscapes. I celebrate glass art makers. Not everyone will agree with me, but that is okay. What is a discussion without opposing viewpoints.
The painting is a celebration of a landmark in Renton, Washington. It has survived earthquakes, fires, and the gentrification of the neighborhood. I took the reference photo on a glorious fall day because I loved the colors on the hillside, and the plume of steam and smoke against the brilliant blue sky.


Casey Klahn said...

Wow, Miki. That is an effective work! It has it going on a lot of levels - the formal parts are right on, the values sail, and it puts me right there in Renton.

I like your art philosophy, too. I have always thought that art should be evocative. The problem with the theories that reject realism and even painting is that we still do these things: we make realist paintings.

Leslie Avon Miller said...

Hi Miki: Well done! Your passion for creating shows in what you paint and what you have written. I couldn’t love the season of autumn more, and I am drawn to the remains from the past, so your work really resonates with me. When I made pottery and wove baskets, the on going discussion was craft vs. fine art. I decided then to just let the topic alone. There will always be differing opinions, and it felt like a waste of my energy to engage in it one way or the other. As a non-objective painter, I may be sensitive to discussions that indicate non-objective art is somehow “less-than” objective work. So I try to remind myself that I can “take what I like, and leave the rest.” In other words, if someone’s opinion of what should and should not be in art resonates with me, good. If not, I move on. There is a lot of room in this world for all of us to create.

Tom Willa said...

Celebrate and create. I love the philosphy. Great painting.

Elena said...

I love your painting and your interpretations. I'm probably too new at art to begin making these observations but I don't believe art should follow any man-made rules. We are creative beings meant to explore and enhance our creativity. Unfortunately, I suppose man-made rules are meant for art to be profitable. Anyway, I think your art is beautiful.

april said...

I feel your celebration! This painting is lovely, Miki! I can smell the crispness of Fall. Beautiful!

butterfly woman said...

I love your painting and feel the emotion oozing out of it. Your love for that landmark is evident.It almost has an Andrew Wyeth feel to it, so nostalgic.
The discussion is intriguing. I feel there are many reasons to be creative and am always learning and embracing each individual's unique take on the world around them.
I used to be very realistic in my work, now I think more out of the box and am quite happy with my evolution. Not everyone understands what I create and I like it that way. My unique stamp. Just paint your spirit and passion and the questions will fall away.

Dianne said...

your work is amazing! found you from "Altered Book Lover"s blog...lovely landscapes...