March 22, 2014

Art? Or graphic design?

Google's doodle this morning recognizes the 102nd birthday of Agnes Martin.

I'm interested in the visual arts, so I clicked the link to learn more about her. She was an abstract painter who called herself an abstract expressionist, but others called her minimalist. I think the others nailed it. Here's a sample of her canvases from a Google images search:

How you can examine that body of work and not come up with "minimalist," I don't know.

I also don't know why artists like Martin win critical acclaim, and artists who produce work like this don't:

Young Sailors by Clyde Kirkpatrick

OK, full disclosure, that was a blatant plug for my uncle. But this really goes to the heart of what art is. I don't see any value in minimalist abstraction. Looking at Agnes Martin's work, I'm just not left with any sort of feeling at all. She's got some nice color combinations, but so do interior decorators and web designers.

Despite having written a novel about an artist, I have barely begun to study the topic. But one thing I am sure of. Art is not only the skillful execution of the steps necessary to produce a product: that's craft. Art evokes an emotional response. Not just "that's an interesting arrangement of _____" (words, sounds, colors). But "Wow, that really makes me feel _____" (peaceful, sad, joyous).

If art were just the pleasant arrangement of colors, then a lot more people would deserve the kind of recognition Martin got.

1 comment:

  1. There are often great software products on the market that are almost invaluable to their customers that are let down by poor design and presentation.
    Clipping Path Service