A year ago, walking into the modern art exhibit of a museum, I would have come across a solid-colored canvas with a few random-looking brush strokes and thought snootily to myself, I can’t believe this is considered art. Even now, it is difficult for me to call what looks like a venerated sheet of paper “fine art.” There’s no composition; there’s no technique. It doesn’t make sense.
Art is often scaled according to its academic merit. Does it have contrast? Is there a clear perspective? What are the hues? Art techniques can create a nice aesthetic, but they mean nothing if a viewer cannot get emotionally drawn in.
Although I appreciate many works of art, there are very few that I am truly passionate about. To me, these are the pieces that are most important, but they aren’t necessarily the ones that show the most skill.
One of my favorite works of art is called “Travelers Among Mountains and Streams.” Aesthetically, it is nothing extraordinary. There is virtually no color, and it depicts a natural scene that most people would consider fairly conventional. Some might say it’s pretty, and others might call it boring – but to me, it’s magnificent.
My interest in the art has nothing to do with perfection of technique. I admire it because I can imagine myself in various locations within the scene, glancing around and absorbing everything around me.
If you look at the bottom righthand corner of the work, you’ll see a line of black dots, and only when you zoom in really close will you notice that these are the travelers mentioned in the title.
It is almost comical how minuscule the figures are in comparison to the magnitude of everything else. In their titles, artists generally refer to what they want the viewers to focus on, but this is clearly not the emphasis of this work.
What’s the purpose of naming an artwork after the central object? It might allow the viewer to understand what the artist intended the work to be about, but viewers become so distracted by the artist’s viewpoint that they are deprived from forming their own interpretation.
Viewers can’t take much away from art when everything is already given to them.
When we only analyze the artist and how perfectly he or she fits the academic mold, we are left empty of our own perception.
The more we focus solely on the academic merit of art, the more we lose sight of its purpose – to provoke some level of satisfaction or thought-provoking response.
When I see a solid-colored painting, I don’t see any use of lighting or composition, but that doesn’t mean it’s purposeless. If I take nothing away from it, it’s not the art for me.
But to someone who can connect with whatever emotions the colors are portraying, it’s a masterpiece.