Extremes of Art

The extremes in today’s art are, on the one hand, the trivial anecdote which is a tale of shallow, conventional, sentiment as well as a wide range of intended wall decorations clamoring for market approval.

At the other end of the spectrum is the shocking pretense which includes much of modern art. These are pseudo-intellectual offerings endowed with the appearance of meaning by the tortured language of self-identified illuminate. For more information on this subject, I would refer you to, “The Painted Word” by Tom Wolfe and “Yes, but is it Art?” on the Sixty Minutes television show. The tape purchase requests for the two Sixty Minutes segments surpassed any in their history.

Between these two extremes and in the hands of a gifted practitioner, contemporary realism in its many forms is a profound and beautiful art. Developed and passed down through the centuries, it is an art that accesses the imagination, that urges the mind, that embodies a timeless universality, that allows the viewer to suspend disbelief, that invites the viewer to participate and that provides a self explanatory visual reward.

“The man who has honesty, integrity, the love of inquiry, the desire to see beyond, is ready to appreciate good art. He needs no one to give him an ‘Art Education’; he is already qualified. He needs but to see pictures with his active mind, look into them for the things that belong to him, and he will find soon enough in himself an art connoisseur and an art lover of the first order.” – Robert Henri (who wrote at a time before gender neutrality)