Paintings by Dianne Mize

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Why Are We Screaming?

Has our culture become so loud, busy, non-discerning that the artists among us must scream their heads off just to become noticed?  Are we living on sensory overload?

Yesterday I had two encounters with art, each leaving me wondering who is in charge.  One was a visit to a gallery showing a batch of paintings, all blatant copies of photos, some I've seen passed around as e-mail attachments, others obviously lifted from greeting cards and magazines, and absolutely no credits given.  The paintings were over-sized, some containing little relief gimmicks, most in bold colors--and these predominated the hallway and main gallery area.  I felt socked in the face by somebody with obvious skill but with nothing to say.

Later, with some friends, I watched the final two (recorded) episodes of Bravo's reality show, American's Next Great Artist.  The only evidence of art was the process these youngsters used to try guess what would win for them the title.  What was hard to believe was the verbal garbage thrown at them by their mentors and judges, advising them to be bold and off the top.  Reminded me of those undergrad days when we were advised that to be artists we must "be inventive."

No word about utilizing skills, about composing, about responding to one's inner voice:  just advice to scream out loud so that through all the glitz and masquerading, their voices could be heard--maybe.  I kept thinking about Dale's question that I skirted around in my last blog entry, and I kept thinking about those awful paintings I had been assaulted by just hours earlier, and I wondered how is it that our culture has become so assaulted by loud voices and harsh colors that no longer do we cherish a paper boy strolling the streets whistling Un Bel Di...

Have an unassaultd Thursday.