Tuesday, July 26, 2016

How Jurors Compare Realistic and Non-Representational Art

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.