Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Connecting with art

I enjoyed the comments and emails I received after my last post. Thank you all, for making the effort to tell me your thoughts! The things you wrote have led me to another topic - one about connecting people through art. I do think there are times when a piece of art draws us closer to ourselves. We respond to something un-nameable within that just feels "right" somehow. It's as though you look at the art and feel a bell, deep within, resounding. I love it when that happens! When it does happen, then the artist has truly tapped into something universal, and I suppose that is really what we are striving for. Connecting with other people and with someone else's art is all about finding a common thread. Something that we can relate to.

Don't you often think that finding differences is sometimes easier than finding commonalities? I think encountering "strange" art (and I mean "new to us" when I use that word) is often just like encountering "strange" ("new to us") people. At first, we might feel threatened or unsure. Do we like this? Do we feel a common thread? Is there anything about this "strangeness" that we can relate to? I have always asserted that time is what we need in order to find the common links with something new. The more time we spend with something or someone, the better chance we have of knowing and hopefully, understanding. Of course, the reverse is also true. Sometimes, we meet someone or something and we think we really like them, but after spending time with them, we find that we don't really like them as much as we thought. Or maybe we are just looking at differences, instead of searching for commonalities. What do you think?

I remember when I was in college, I read an article about people who cried in front of a work of art. Here I was, studying art and creating art, and nothing like this had ever happened to me. I thought maybe there was something wrong with me. Maybe I wasn't even a real artist!!!! Then, about five or six years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. I have always loved Van Gogh's paintings, but I don't think I had ever seen one in person. I was so excited! The things that I remember about that experience will stay with me forever. For one thing, despite years and years of looking at reproductions of Van Gogh's paintings in books, I was unprepared for the colors. The colors he used and the way he put color together literally blew my mind. Being in the presence of his paintings was nothing like seeing them in books! Then, towards the end of the museum visit, I came across a painting he had painted for his nephew. It was a painting of a flowering tree. As I stood before this painting, I was suddenly overcome with emotion. And there I was, crying in front of a painting.

For me, that says a lot about the difference between seeing a reproduction of a work of art versus being in the presence of the actual work. It is the reason why the internet will never replace the physical world. It just isn't the same thing. It is also the reason why a reproduction of a work of art will never be the same as the original work.

Let's face it folks. Nothing beats the real thing.

Another new painting:
"Going Postal." Collage, acrylic and oil on board, 8 x 10 inches. ©Karine Swenson2012
Happy Wednesday, all!

1 comment:

pRiyA said...

I kept mulling over what you said after reading this excellent post. It is very difficult to examine what you did and you have done so with lucidity.
What causes us to connect and disconnect with each other? Is it similarities and differences at all? I used to think so until recently. Like you say in your last sentence, so much has to do with that which is real and genuine versus pretentiousness.Like with a work of art, I think we respond to the 'energy' in people.
I completely agree with you about art on the internet being a pale shadow of the real thing. I don't think the same energy as the original emanates out of pixels, however many there are. However in Bangalore where there is a huge lack of exposure to art, I guess something, even a work on the net, is better than nothing at all. Unfortunately, people here seem to think that is all there is to a painting and if they have seen it on the net they have seen it all. How mistaken they are!