Art School Part 1 (cont.)

Link the picture to Odd Nerdrum

This comment posted by Adam Robinson in regards to the Remembrandt posting blantantly asks for more.

"Very enlightening. Oh ha. Ha ha ha. Ha hahahahahaha!

Do you like Rembrandt? Do you like this painting? Where does Rembrandt fit into your appreciation of art? How do you evaluate the classics? Is there room for someone who paints like Rembrandt in the contemporary art world? Are there any painters who do?"

So here's more. The comment seems to, correct me if I'm wrong, say "That's good and dandy but can we talk about the important things like whether or not you like the painting. Whether or not you like Remembrandt, and how do you evalute the classics." I started thinking about this comment and how we respond to artwork and I came up with a couple of conclusions.

I do my best to avoid comments such as "I like it." I'm always questioning the person who "likes" it's self importance. I'm just not sure how it would be applicable or constructive. That assesses what the person's personal parameters of painting approval are more than the merit of the painting. And even though I try not to make comments like that, I still inadvertently do.

"I like the light that seems to be coming more from the work than the desk. Both sources have Divine implications."

I suppose people ask whether or not you like something because it should, eventually lead to an explaination of why you do or do not like something which can spawn interesting offspring. But so often it does not. So often you hear, "I don't like it... I don't know why, it just doesn't move me." Thats very discouraging as an artist but not nearly as discouraging as "I like it, but I'm not sure why." I personally would rather hear what the person thinks of when they look at the painting. What messages are they getting? Where is their eye drawn, and is their eye drawn there because of the rich subtleties, or because it lacks the attention that other parts of the painting have been given. For instance, the black-ness of the lower portion of St. Paul looks washed out to me. Vermeer has these wonderful rich dark colors that come from layers of blues and reds, glazes of brown and ochre. I wish that Remembrandt could have used some of the same techniques in these darker portions. The dark spot looks as though it does not want to be focused on which has the exact opposite effect.

As far as evaluating the classics, it seems like a kind of daunting task and I'm not sure the ends out weigh the means. I mean, I think understanding the classics will enrich your work greatly. I'm not sure if it's entirely necessary. It really depends on what type of work you're interested in making. I find the great divide in artwork to be between conceptual and aesthic artwork. If you have inclinations to either, the importance of the classics is integral. More so for the conceptual type. If your work is simply about the work, than I suppose you're asking the work to stand on its own anyway so backing it's conceptual framework with knowledge of the classics is superfluous. It goes back to the same old maxim. Piet Mondrian didn't start drawing boxs and filling them in with colors one day because he thought it would be cool. It took him years of studying painting to arrive where he did. So personally speaking...I guess I like the classics. I don't know why, I just do.