Thursday, September 09, 2010


I was collecting a painting today, the one I painted this year for the Tabernacle Competition. Next year's theme has already been announced, "feeling".

There are definitely certain types of art that are designed to be emotionless, perhaps to convey an intellectual idea. In a way, much of the post modern conceptual art of the 1990's was just that. Perhaps art without feeling was a sign of an anaesthetised desensitised society created by exposure to imagery, sound, music, violence and everything the modern world offers that wasn't there even two decades earlier. Perhaps feeling in art was too subtle to be noticed, or unimportant. Perhaps shock tactics had killed it. Too much good feeling is fine. Too much bad feeling is an unpleasant turn off.

For me all good art should convey feeling, and one of the main ways to determine whether art is good or bad is whether it touches the viewer. The conveyance of feeling and empathy has been a driver of art innovation too. Abstraction aimed to convey feelings in a more direct way than realism could, specifically by artists who didn't empathise with the subject matter of a painting but were affected by the forms and colours.

Perhaps a wider audience can get a feeling from colours, and a smaller one can empathise with a peasant in a field. Does that mean that abstraction is better at conveying feelings? Not really because it is less specific. In some ways it's a easy option. There's a lot of feeling in a Rothko but hardly any intellectual substance.

Of course I'm full of ideas for next year. I wonder what the other entries will look like...

PS. The picture is my friend's cat Scrabble. A cute feeling!

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Scrabble is a great name for a cat. Very cute indeed.
I agree, Mark, that good art conveys feeling. I bet you have lots of great ideas for next years challenge! I look forward to seeing your ideas come alive.