Monday 16 February 2015

The Philistines Guide to Art (1)

I have often wondered what art really is. You might suppose from reading my witterings on the blog. That I am some sort of artistic philistine. By the time you get to the end of today's topic you might well be right. So today's topic is 'The Philistines Guide to Art'. Well, to be more accurate its Michaels guide to certain types/classes/genera of art. Ones that I find it difficult to get my head around.

I can easily understand and appreciate a portrait, be it in any media such as pencil, pastel or whatever. I can make a judgement upon the quality of the portrait. Depending upon its skill in depiction, closeness to reality or its 'likeness' if I know the person or object being portrayed. Landscapes are another art form, which I am also very comfortable with. I can see skill and beauty in the artists representation of feature objects like mountains and trees. In the detail which can require exceptionally skilful manipulations of colour to represent light and shade.

I like particularly enjoy the impressionists where the detail has that 'speckled' representation and you have to stand away and sometimes even squint to see and appreciate the whole. I actually like the crude or naïve art, where someone is a less skilled artisan but has attempted to portray something or other. Maybe its because that's where my own level of skill has plateaued over the years. What I can't get my head around are what I call 'Charlatan Art'. Where the 'art' consists of broad random splashes of colour, which have seemingly have been thrown on the canvas. Then there is the Banksy art made by spray painting with a stencil. My kids were doing that on any rainy day years ago. Most of all its cubism – what the ferkle is that all about.

Then there are the old masters, where sometimes the positions assumed by the characters are so unreal. Where the art can often be dark and brooding. Covering subjects like beheading and cherubs ascending from heaven. The ganja must have been very potent back then. The old masters are the speciality for the talking of premium grade bollocks by critics. Usually taken to a stratospheric level of pomposity.

Then there is the good old Antiques Road Show – I enjoy seeing the stuff that gets appraised and to watch the reaction of people as its value is finally revealed. There are many objects I would quite happily appraise as 'could be worth taking to the nearest skip'. The appraiser sometimes asks the owner if they like the piece and quite often the owner says no. Then its revealed that the item is worth a load of dosh and suddenly the owner sees the item in a whole new light. Maybe it transforms into a new kitchen or a trip to Corfu.

Best of all is the art where someone turns up with a picture. It set up on an easel and a small crowd gathers in anticipation. A quick glance of the picture for me says whether I like it or not. I can then join in the game of hundreds and thousands and guess at its worth. But its worth is exactly the point, is it better and much more artistic if its worth more?

Some of this occasionally 'found in a skip crap' then get eulogies spouted by various 'art critics' who seem to see a different artistic reality to mine. I call this 'Talking Bollocks'. Every now and then an old discoloured painting is dragged from someone's loft. It was placed there because the subject is so brooding it was making the family feel depressed. However, its artistic worth is to be revealed on the antiques road show. The appraiser gives his or her view on the picture. With stock phrases like 'its naïve' and sometimes 'in the style of'' or the phrase everyone wants to hear 'possibly an original'. Then they wheel in another expert for his opinion, who generally says the same sort of thing. Now comes the crunch moment – the valuation is given usually as two grand or two hundred grand. The owner has an emotional moment of angst or joy and its at this point, I loose the will to live.

Continued Tomorrow. Click Here

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please put your name to your comment. Comments without a name may automatically be treated as spam and might not be included.

If you do not wish your comment to be published say so in your comment. If you have a tip or sensitive information you’d prefer to share anonymously, you may do so. I will delete the comment after reading.