Provoking a Reaction is One Way to Get Noticed
Yay! I took the plunge while I was working on dinner this evening. I placed the canvas on the coffee table and stared at it trying to figure out where to start – the upper right hand side made sense, so I got some tubes of paint (white, green, some sort of dark blue and aqua) and just squeezed ‘em directly onto the canvas, then took my putty knife and swept them down and across the blackness. Eureka! A comet’s tail! I worked a little more on dinner and was feeling even braver so I added a sunburst at the top of the comet and various drags of color onto the untouched areas. Cool, I’ve started and I don’t hate it, so that’s good.
My daughter has decided on a representational grave yard scene. She’s made a very ghostly foreground with a grave marker and the moon shining overhead. She’s got way more talent than I do handling a brush. Even with specialized cutting in tools, I still managed to get paint smudges on the ceiling when we painted the family room.
As I’ve said before, I’ve always enjoyed art. I’ve also envied anyone with even a modicum of talent to draw or paint something pleasing. The majority of my free hand art projects were at most sub-par and except for my colored protractor water ripples, I threw most of my art projects away.
I think it’s safe to say that the majority of people who seek art are looking for the beautiful. The expectation of most people entering an art gallery is to see loveliness. They want to enjoy the visually appealing. I was at a small local art show a few years back and went to look at the gallery to see was selected for our viewing pleasure. There were the usual flowers in vases and fruit still life paintings in long rows and I thought they were all very nice until I can to the center of one row. There in front of me was a stark black and white photograph of a woman with big, clear tubes duct taped onto her skin. The tubes looked like they were filled with her blood and her hopeless face spoke to me that she knew she was dying, but she was helpless to do anything about it.
That picture immediately provoked a great deal of anger and revulsion in me. Why would the gallery choose to show something so ugly? Who would come up with such a disturbing image? How would a piece of work like that qualify as art? Who would want to look at it?
Now the interesting thing is that I felt my reaction about that picture for a good week after the exhibition; deep revulsion down in the pit of my stomach about the fate of the woman in the picture. I even had a story line about the woman based on what I had seen in the picture – she was one of those girls who always needed a boyfriend and was invariably drawn to guys who would treat her badly, then toss her aside. Years of this treatment had broken her spirit until she found herself with a masochistic man whose great pleasure it was to manipulate and hurt her. In his final act of cruelty, he hooked her up to a bunch of tubing and photographed her while her lifeblood drained out of her body. She stood there as he took her picture unwilling to help herself or to try and stop him from ending her life and throwing her away.
Not one of the pretty flower pictures made me feel as strongly as that one photograph did.