Wednesday, 3 September 2014
I like it, but is it art
This afternoon I have been with friend W to Ripon Cathedral to look at the Great North Art Show. This is an annual event at which some of the North's well-known painters, photographers and sculptors are invited to exhibit.
We wandered round looking at the work, most of which we found admirable. There were some we were not keen on, one or two we positively disliked and a few which really caught our eye.
It did lead me to speculate on what makes a good painting. Should one's judgement be based solely on whether one likes a particular work or not? I used to have this argument frequently with my first husband, who was himself a painter. He used to argue that whether or not one 'liked' a picture, one should be able to comment on whether or not it was a good painting.
We once went round an exhibition (we always went round separately because otherwise we would get into quite heated arguments) and at the end there was a pile of forms asking the viewers to vote on their favourite painting. I took this very seriously and went round again giving each picture marks out of ten in my mind. He didn't go round again but immediately wrote down which one was his favourite - i.e. the one which he considered was technically the best. He was appalled by my choice!
So - who was right? Does art depend upon whether one likes it or not, or should one be able to discern the good qualities in a picture even if it is not to one's liking? (and please don't say 'it all depends upon what you mean by 'good).
Here is a photograph of one of my husband's series of paintings after a visit to Venice. Sorry about harlequin alongside, but he hangs on a hook (we did buy him in Venice) and if removed takes a lot of getting back again.
I do hope Cro and Tom will both give us their opinion - they are well-qualified to do so - so I shall pop over and ask them to call in.