|Under the El|
The other day, I overheard a group of artists wondering how an art show judge could possibly compare realistic works with non-representational ones. They were having difficulty coming up with a set of criteria that would apply to both. “After all, there’s no subject to relate to in an abstract, so how could the judge decide which one is better?” I asked if I might join the discussion and listened for awhile, thinking about what was essentially a common complaint among many artists. I asked if they could explain what the criteria might be for realistic paintings. We talked about the elements of art and the principles of design. We discussed the use of a variety of values, we talked about a strong focal point, and the use of a harmonious color palette. I suggested looking at the rhythm and how the artist led the viewer’s eye through the painting. We even discussed the 30 yards, 30 feet, 3 feet idea – does the painting catch the eye from across the room? Is it more interesting the closer the viewer gets? I then asked if they would follow me to where a series of my abstract paintings was hanging and asked them to apply the same set of criteria to my works. (Needless to say, I didn't ask if they would have awarded me a ribbon) but by the time our discussion ended, it had become obvious to all of us that the same set of criteria could be applied to any kind of painting – good technique, imaginative approach, and that elusive WOW factor. DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE? WHAT CRITERIA WOULD YOU USE? Please comment below.