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.


jinxxxygirl said...

To me...... If someone created something from their own two hands that is art.... I do have difficulty calling something that is computer generated or digitally created ...ART... But whether it be clay or paint or even long as it came out of their mind and thru their hands then to me its art...whether i personally like it or not does not matter its just a matter of taste.... Hugs! deb

Rachel said...

Your late husband's painting of Venice is a technically accomplished painting and captures Venice as it is and as he saw it when he was there. He did it, he liked it and he clearly had the skills to do it and that is all that matters in my opinion. It is not Tracey Emin's bed and he didn't want it to be.

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

I don't know if my opinion means much Weave but art is a very personal thing and, if you like it then you like it and if it pleases your eye then that should be all that matters. XXXX

Elizabeth said...

I think you have opened a great can of worms here....
In one of my previous incarnations I was art critic for a Long Island newspaper.
If I liked the work the artist considered me the most perceptive of critics, if I breathed the least whisper of criticism - who did I think I was?!! -how ignorant etc etc!
It is, indeed, all the eye of the beholder!

Kev Alviti said...

I have to like it. I don;t care if it's perfect or technically great, if it isn't for me then I won't see past that!

Tom Stephenson said...

Personally, I often like things that I know to be bad art - and vice versa.

Any artist should be able to tell you why something is either good or bad, but a non-artist need not.

Most non-artists know whether or not something is good, and this need have nothing to do with technical skill. There are some very well executed bits of terrible art - also vice versa.

If you really like something, than that is your business, and yours alone - Just don't try to tell anyone that it is good just because you like it.

angryparsnip said...

First i so enjoyed seeing your late husband painting. I think it expresses the joy of being in Venice.
As for what is art... for collectors who only care about the name and price then that is art.
I can understand what an Artist was trying to say but not hang it on my wall. For me art is anything you like from children's painting , a friend photography or something you have done yourself.

cheers, parsnip

Terry and Linda said...

What a beautiful piece of art! Your late husband was very talented!


JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

I am interested in all kinds of art - painting - photography, etc. I once knew a teacher who would only let her students draw with crayons when magic markers first came out. She said magic markers were not "art" - but I believe she was wrong - magic markers, paint brushes, computer generated art - it all takes talent and creativity. If the mind has the genius to create something, what does it matter what the medium is - clay, wood, sand, computer? The art comes from the maker.

I've watched computer artists create things that are beyond beautiful - that inspire and elate people - and I've watch simple sketches with a stubby pencil - it all is art.

Cloudia said...

Once educated, and eye my please itself.

ALOHA from Honolulu
=^..^= . <3

Cro Magnon said...

Paintings fall into so many different categories. Other than my 'professional' work, I occasionally produce souvenir paintings of my children, places I've visited, or even of myself. The Venice painting falls into this souvenir category, which is designed to bring back memories of a particular time and place. I would say it does its job very well, and obviously gave its creator a great deal of pleasure. That, surely, is the most important bit. Cro x

Amy said...

I think every piece of art is different and unique in itself, it doesn't matter whether you like it or not because each of us is going to have a different perspective on it. That's what makes art special.

Tom Stephenson said...

I'm still getting disembodied voices on your blog, Weave.

Mac n' Janet said...

I can appreciate good work in a painting even when I don't care for the painting style.

Heather said...

Your husband's painting of Venice is beautiful. I can like a painting that isn't particularly good and be appreciative of one that I don't really like. I both like and appreciate your husband's painting and think he must have been very talented.

A Heron's View said...

Hi Weave,

I wanted to have a good look at your late husbands painting so I enlarged it to 11 inches high, much better to see and am so glad that I did for what a wonderful surprise.

His painting is so alive with energy and vibrancy, it really is a good piece. For he has captured the
atmosphere of a summers night when the water changes its consistency to an oily lazy flow that allows light to sit gently on the surface.

There is also an air of mystery about it and a story; the woman in red where has she come from
and where is she going now. So many questions to ask her.

Your painting is a good example of an impressionist artist who knew his stuff.

Mrs H just peered over my shoulder squeezed me out of my chair to take a closer look
and said “Oh this is lovely”

Thank you for giving us the opportunity of seeing this piece of work and do you have any more ?

George said...

The questions you ask, Pat, have been asked since the inception of painting. Objectively, based upon what I have learned as a painter myself, I think I can distinguish between a good work of art and a bad one. That doesn't mean, however, that I always like "good" art. How one responds to any creative work is entirely subjective, as indeed it should be. I never let others dictate what is sublime and what is not.

Canadian Chickadee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Canadian Chickadee said...

Art is a very personal thing. There is what I call "decorator's art' which you see hanging in furniture stores, usually painted by someone of modest skills who churned out ten paintings a day and sold them for $19.99.

Then there is "real" art, which shows the unmistakable hand of the painter or creator. Sometimes I connect with it on a visceral level, and other times, I think, you have got to be kidding me. Doesn't mean the painting was bad - just that it wasn't exactly my taste.

Books follow the same pattern. There are books I love and with which I wouldn't dream of parting, and books which sold billions of copies world-wide to which I wouldn't give house room. (Hilary Mantel's books spring to mind. -- If she's a personal friend, I apologise for my rudeness!)

Gwil W said...

There's art and there's ART and there's all the aRt in between. Warhol proved a soup can can be ART. Certainly iconic. For now. It's a matter of taste.