Monday, February 05, 2007

Art Talk

A few months ago, I got my hands on a magazine called "Irish Arts Review". Plenty of beautiful pictures of gorgeous paintings, but who writes the articles?

One of the articles I read was about an artist who lives and works on the Beara Peninsula, Sarah Walker.
Another article was about Tim Hawkesworth, an artist born in Ireland, who now lives in the US, I think.

Both artists, as you'll see from their websites, who produce beautiful works of art.

Now, I would find it very hard to describe their work. I just don't have the vocabulary to describe what I see and what I feel when I look at their paintings. But the Irish Arts Review writers are certainly not lost for words. Too many big words in my opinion!

Here is an extract from the article about Sarah Walker: "This dichotomy between abstract patternage and organic structure as a visual conceit seems to thread its way through her process. This dialectical element of her work seeks to disengage the viewer from simplistic visual metaphors whether they are signalled by the title of the work, or more obviously apparent in naturalistic pattern, notionally referring to landscape."

Now, I think I understand the first bit - the paintings in the magazine at first look like abstract lines and shapes, but, when you look closer, you see the leaves, flowers and blades of grass that inspired the painting. But I have no idea what the 2nd sentence means. And the article goes on and on (and on) in the same vein.

Would you like to read the first paragraph in the article about Tim Hawkesworth, called "Activating the Canvas"? Here it goes: "There is something profound about coming across authentic painting. The eye races around the canvas, being passed from one brushstroke to another in an exhilarating optical dance" (so far so good, but wait for the next bit) "There is a glut of information, a greased communication, where gesture, colour, form and image all jostle for attention. The mind elbows itself into this fray offering meanings to the experience - interpretation best left for afterwards, for quiet recollection" (and maybe for mature recollection too!)

You can decide for yourself, but my mind doesn't elbow itself into anything when I look at these paintings. I just let my eyes and my feelings do the work, just enjoying the shapes and colours, without trying to read anything into it. Maybe I'm not intellectual enough to understand these paintings.

For me, it's the same with music - I don't necessarily understand musical structure, but it doesn't stop me enjoying Mozart. Maybe that's why I don't particularly like Mahler (not that I've tried much!) - but in my simplistic view, if art - visual or musical - doesn't appeal to my senses, what's the point?

So, go to their websites and decide if you like what you see.

PS: Picture posted here was taken from the LittleJohn Gallery website, as there were copy restrictions on the Tim Hawkesworth website.

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