Friday, March 26, 2010

Without a Lot of Words

Been thinking about 'the meaning' of art and being an artist a lot this past week, as part, or the aftermath of #class which I participated in last weekend (the last days of the exhibit), and reading the blog post and comments on the Winkleman blog.

At the same time trying to work/finish this painting, which is a cityscape of downtown Manhattan, not too far from the galleries in Chelsie.

So without many words and explaining , here's the painting, maybe it's finished. It's colorful so very difficult to get an accurate photo:
City 5
50X46 Inches Mixed Media Painting on Canvas

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I'm not a person who is very comfortable with words. Writing isn't easy for me. But sometimes discussions on other blogs invoke a need to comment, so here I am writing in response to a comment-discussion on a blog I enjoy reading, Edward Winkleman's:

Personally, I chose art forms that require other skills to express myself, it was music, now visual art. But these days visual artists are required to use a lot of verbiage. Every exhibit starts with a long lecture by the artist. It's like the art is not accessible without explaining it first. I feel like that often. When visiting a gallery or a show I take a look first, without hearing or reading anything. I like to see what this does to me, and often, it does very little. Then I read, or listen to the 'explanation' or interpretation and I go: ahhhhhh... I didn't get it right away (and I feel humbled - another word for: a little stupid for not getting it right away). Then I look again at the art and it all comes into place, I enjoy and appreciate it, and think: wow, that's brilliant/that's so touching...

But at the same time a part of me is still reserved, not enjoying totally, because I feel insulted, I think - this should have been clear to me right away, why isn't it speaking to me in the language of the visual, why is there a need for crutches? for words, for explaining? I mean, yes, words are fine if you want to know more, understand more, get a bigger picture, but there should also be an immediate response to the art, that is non-verbal, that doesn't need any words, that is individual, open and vast. It is the main thing that makes it VISUAL art.

I also don't like being fed with the interpretation. Once there is an explanation, there is only one way to interpret, to understand, I am forced to see it in a certain way. It's like reading a book and then seeing it in a movie, once you saw the movie there is a certain picture in your mind, you cannot imagine it as you did before, you cannot interpret it freely. Yet, cinema does leave a lot to be interpreted, a lot to think about, at least in a good movie, and a movie can be viewed on it's own, reading the book is not necessary to enjoy or 'get' it. So the analogy is not perfect, because the book and the movie are each separate art forms that stand by themselves, for themselves. I think visual art should speak for itself, on many levels, and to any person in an individual way, be open to personal interpretation. Words can be used as an enhancement, but any explanation that is longer than one paragraph, if that, which is about as long as the lyrics to a song, is redundant, too long, too complicated, too heavy. It's also great when the words can stand by themselves, have some meaning and importance even without the artwork, as in good lyrics to a song (although sometimes the lyrics in a song can be rather silly, only used as a tool to enhance or 'anchor' the music).

For example, in the work of Stephanie Sinclair of Afghan women burn victims, shown now in the Whitney Biennial - the explanation can stand in itself as a journalistic, very touching piece of information. It enhances and is being enhanced by the photographs.

Two paragraphs are printed in the exhibit, but this could easily be shortened to one, the message is striking. If you are able to look closely at the photos or just take a glimpse at them, it stays with you for a long time, and hits you on many levels, emotionally, intellectually. It is about third world countries, but also about our identity as a women, as a society (both men and women), just to name a few. It speaks to everyone who is touched by it in an individual, personal way.

I like comparing visual art to music. Now I am trying to put all my thoughts down into words, and it is not easy for me, but I am trying:

Music speaks without words, but sometimes words are used to enhance, to complete, as an additional tool. But the words are usually short, and simple. A poem, lyrics to a song.

Music can be understood and felt without words, as in instrumental music.

It can be interpreted in many ways. In fact, every person will hear and feel and respond differently to the same piece. We may both like Bach, or Bill Evans, but we will both like them in different ways. You may like the high note and I may like the unpredictable rhythm in the slowest part. Every minute may include other particles we each like, and respond to differently, feel them differently, imagine in different colors. Back in music school, one of my teachers used to mock music critics, for trying to describe music with words, phrases such as: 'the velvety clarinet melody'... 'the sparkling piano notes'... what's wrong with it you ask? for musicians all that needs to be defined with words are mainly the technical terms, such as notes, scales and rhythm, and beyond that the wordly definitions are very simple: In classical music its Italian terms such as: Allegro - fast; Con Brio - with vigor; Dolce - sweetly; Delicato - delicately; Jiojoso - joyfully; and so on, very simple terms. In Jazz there may be even less words used - musicians will define: it's a ballad, or: it's free jazz; mostly technical terms, referring to scale/form/rhythm etc.. the rest is spoken with the music itself. And the music speaks, it speaks volumes.

To me, visual art has lost it's immediacy in making a visual connection that is deep, and beyond words.

I am struggling here with words to explain why words are not necessary. I have chosen this form of art for this reason, because unlike theater, poetry, literature, screen writing, which are art forms that require the spoken or written word, I don't think words are the main tool for the visual artist, or shouldn't be one of the necessary tools.

I've spoken my mind, a lot of writing and a lot of words for me, it's such a long post, all these words... I hope I made some point here... thank you for reading!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I'm happy to say I've managed to visit 5 fairs! not all that I wanted to see, that's impossible to manage unless you rush through them without enough time to browse and process what you see!
I've had some summarizing thoughts before falling asleep last night, and woke up to more thoughts after a night of vivid dreams...

So... some thoughts about the role of art and artists in history and today, which probably are nothing new to those of you who studied art history, but I would like to put them all down, for mind-organization purposes.

The way it used to have been is that the role of visual artists was to record and reflect events, reality, daily life, and also religious and political beliefs and ideas. Artist's work also had a recreational value, by providing an aesthetic pleasure or sometimes a cathartic experience to the viewer. The role of an artist was also that of a historian. The artist injected their own personal ideas and feelings in an indirect way.

These days, ever since the invention of the camera and film, the role of the visual artist has been less and less that of recording events. Today the artist is allowed and even expected to have and to express their own ideas/concepts/feelings!

The visual artist these days expresses or aspires to express him/herself via one or (most of the time) more than one of these elements:

Meticulous skill or craft
Deep, emotional, conscious or sub-conscious expression
Unique aesthetic value

Have I forgotten any elements? please correct me if I did.

So... now to my personal quest: where does that leave me now? What does my own art express?


What is life about?
Is there an answer?
Am I expected to have it?
Many artists' ideas/concepts are about ASKING a question, not answering.
What is mine? what is MY WAY, or MY QUESTION, or ANSWER?
I am not sure at this point, and I feel this has to be the next step for me. Finding this answer/question is important, it is my ARTIST STATEMENT.


When musicians create, they are EXPERIENCING their art through the element of TIME. The experience is TRANSFERRED to the audience through the ENERGY that is being created. Even if the music is recorded and played over a CD, the listener listens and feels the ENERGY that was created in time. There is a sort of UNIFICATION of object and subject, there is an EXPERIENCE.
The process is similar in dance, theater, cinema. Literature and poetry are similar as well, the author/poet is the story-teller who records their words in writing, the art is experienced through the element of TIME, the experience is that of UNIFICATION of the energies created by the writer, and the vibrations of the listener/reader.

In visual art, with the exclusion of performance and video art (which I would classify together with theater or cinema), and kinetic art, the process is more tricky. The visual artist creates an object, then separates from it. The experience of UNIFICATION is different. The art, once finished, exists outside of the artist, and outside of the element of CHANGE in time. It is in the HERE and NOW. The viewer may experience it over time, discovering and learning it, but the art in itself has become an OBJECT as opposed to a changing ENERGY/THOUGHT or a recording of energy/thought. It exists in the dimension of HERE and NOW, it is not changing in itself. OR IS IT? Is there really such thing as a non-changing-object? As we know today, with the discoveries of science, EVERYTHING is energy.

What do you think?

Transferring of the human experience through visual means. In the HERE and NOW. What does that even mean, what does it say? It is nothing special, nothing different, but it is what ART is about, isn't it?
All the rest have other functional purposes. Our life is about survival, recreation and meaningת I think. Art interprets those elements, of life. Art focuses on meaning and recreation. No one needs art to survive, except for the artist of course, who, if lucky, uses it to survive.

Creating an art EXPERIENCE which TRANSCENDS the object - is it possible? I think we all try it, like in the movie 9, transfer our soul to the object we are making.

I seem to get nowhere further with these thoughts, so I will leave it at that for now. I am still looking for the answer or the question, maybe I will find it in the words I've written so far, or maybe I need to work some, and produce, in order to have a sense of actually finding something.

In the mean time, here are a few images of some 'recent' work (I haven't posted in a long while), for your aesthetic enjoyment/ cathartic experience/ intellectual enlightenment (alright, just kidding, don't mean to sound pretentious ;-)...)

Well, anyway, here it is:
Cityscape #4
Mixed Media 11X8.5 Inches

Cityscape #2

Mixed Media 11X8.5 Inches

Cityscape #3

Mixed Media 11X8.5 Inches

Blue In Green In Yellow

Acrylic on Canvas
54X48 Inches (137X121 Cm)


48X72 Inches (121X183 Cm)

Color Me Good

30X24 Inches (76X61 Cm)
Mixed Media on Canvas

This is the City that Never Sleeps

24X36 Inches (61X91 Cm)
Mixed Media on Canvas

This time

11X8.5 Inches
pencils on paper

It's the Wind That Draws Me To You

11X8.5 Inches
pencils on paper

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