“Going Home” – 12×12 Watermedia on Paper
Most of us like chocolate, for me I won’t waste the calories on just any chocolate it has to be good chocolate. The cost of the chocolate has nothing to do with the taste. I like Hershey’s chocolate, but it for me isn’t worth the calories for me to eat it. Frequently when I break down and just need a little chocolate fix I am in a grocery store and have to buy a whole bag of kisses, I usually end up tossing the most of the bag away because the chocolate has a waxy taste. I used to love Godiva chocolates, but they too have commercialized their chocolate. I can find Godiva chocolates in the drug store now, who knows how old that chocolate is. They are just selling their name now like Hershey’s. There is another chocolate that I go to when I can. I absolutely love Love’s Chocolate and is made in southern Florida. Not only is it shipped and sold fresh, but you are told to eat the entire box within two weeks, you are told not to freeze it or you will ruin the it’s exquisite flavor.
The reason I am blogging about chocolate, but it could be anything that that has an exquisite flavor or taste is because I am shifting/changing some of my thinking on what I value in the arts. I am adding a value that has been there all the time, but I haven’t spoken about it – the senses. Taste being one of them. The aesthetic of the senses seems to be overwhelming in the visual arts. There is a difference in how one senses a work of art, for example in the presentation of the two chocolates I have mentioned above; Loves Chocolates are beautifully crafted with exquisite colors and shapes. Just to look at the box of chocolates is breath taking; you don’t want to eat them because they are so beautiful. On the other hand, the presentation of the Hershey’s kisses in a bag all tumbling around together the presentation is altogether different. Hershey’s chocolate has no appeal other than they will satisfy a chocolate fix if you need to quickly. The same should true for a work of art. What do I mean by that?
The value of art does not come from its cost – it comes from how we experience it. An excellent example; color fields. When color fields first were introduced in the early 1900’s they were all about the experience, the freedom of the flow of the paint across a blank canvas or sheet of paper. Some artists during this time painted the color fields for their purity, again a sense. Some artists and art commentators linked this purity to the romantic and the spiritual. Again, a sense. Some linked the fields to a rebellion and a breaking of the rules as to how paint could be applied to canvas and paper, not a sense but a need to control what was happening in painting. Bottom line for color fields mainly was that aesthetic sensation and beauty of color freely flowing across a white field. The blending the joining of two colors freely within that field. The glorious ah ha moment and capturing it, capturing flow, movement.
Some color fields of today, are poured color on tiles, canvas, paper, just about everything, there are tons and tons of U Tube videos on how to pour paint, and different techniques are video taped and posted on U Tube. 100’s of video’s – literally hundreds of videos. And designers have seized the moment and order works to match the rooms they are decorating. They are ordering a bag of Hershey’s kisses and are not experiencing the aesthetic senses of fresh chocolate.
What ever happened to “artwork doesn’t have to match your sofa?” Now artwork, if it can be called that matches the conference room chairs, the sofa, the accent pillows, whatever. What ever happened to the sensation of opening that box of chocolates and experiencing exquisite colors, smells and forms. What ever happened to the sensation of looking at the color field and saying “ah, I sense it’s aesthetic” and not once asking what it will match.
Art is about the sensations the viewer and the creator experience within the work that matters. It is how we sense it, see it, and relate to the different blues in a field of blue, different greens in a field of greens, different textures in a field of textures. It is how we relate to it though sounds it create and reminds of, like rushing water or waves against the shore, and how we relate to it through different tastes like a sensation of a cool glass of water rushing down our throats after we have been out in the hot sun, tilling fresh brown dirt in our gardens. We have lost something that were in the color fields in the early 1900’s, that something, that something is the experience of sensation. For the most part it is gone. Now the color fields are controlled and presented more like a bag of Hershey’s kisses instead of something very special and we are allowed to sense that something special like a box of fresh chocolates. There is a difference in color field works just like there is a difference in the taste of chocolate and how we experience both.
Most color fields today have gotten waxy like old chocolate, but I would answer no that isn’t it. I think the color fields of today, not the ones done by design, but the ones that live deliciously though our sensations, and our sense of things, our personal sense of things are indeed still out there. They are unique and individualized and not designed to match a sofa. They are enjoyed in a room where everything doesn’t match, enjoyed for just what they are sensually gratifying.