I am very fortunate to have a rich, creative life that has been full of experiences to make art and work with other talented artists, designers and art patrons. I thought it might be helpful to share some perspective on art topics that some might find helpful or thought provoking. Any questions or comments are welcome via email.
Contemporary vs. Modern: What’s in a name?
Loomis Gallery offers contemporary art. What exactly does that mean? When you hear the word contemporary, do you get a mental picture of graffiti or some famous abstract work of art by Picasso? The later mental image is a common misconception. Contemporary is a very specific descriptor which refers to art created by artists in the present time period. The artist is usually still living and may work in a wide variety of mediums. By contrast, Modern art refers to art created between the 1890s and the 1960s and is usually limited to painting and sculpture. Another often contrasting aspect of these categories is social context. Modern art (including Pop, Op and Minimalism) was created in a more introspective era, driven by personal psychology and self-expression. Contemporary art usually offers a socially conscious perspective on cultural topics; the environment, human rights, gender issues, economic disparity, consumerism, or other overarching themes that resonate with a group of people. Whether the artist’s work is in the Contemporary or Modern camp, qualities of their artwork style may lend itself to be categorized as traditional, abstract, hyper-realistic, surreal, or impressionistic, to name a few. That is why you might find a very impressionistic landscape painting alongside minimalistic abstract art in a contemporary art gallery; both artists are working in the same time period even though their medium, art style, art education, geographic and social orientation may differ greatly. posted 11/26/20
Choosing art: am I purchasing or investing?
It is said that art can be a trusted form of financial investment. However, a person generally needs to be well versed in the art market and take a risk predicting how a culturally significant artist’s work may appreciate over time. If you’ve watched Antiques Roadshow, you get the idea. The best advice I’ve heard was from the voice of collectors like Herbert and Dorothy Vogel of New York. Simply put, they collected works they loved from artists they appreciated. With little space to live in, they surrounded themselves with the objects of their affection; pieces that inspired or intrigued them and that they felt a personal connection to. This couple set a budget for art and seemed to stick to it, acquiring original works by many rising stars before they were a big deal in the art world. It was the Vogel’s practice to directly contact artist’s whose work they found interesting, visit their studios, and negotiate purchases. Setting a financial limit for yourself, then freeing yourself to explore and enjoy art seems like a good recipe for successful and rewarding collecting, even if the reward turns out to be more intrinsic than financial. posted 11/23/20
Thoughts on Art and Environment:
While working in the field of architectural stained glass, environment, and the role that art plays in setting the tone of one’s surroundings, was a driving factor in the design development, and placement of art for public spaces. The structure and light quality of our living space plays an important role in our quality of life. The art and objects also play an important role. While sequestered in our homes and home offices during this pandemic, we find ourselves looking closely at our living spaces with a keen eye….some of us for the first time. What does my ZOOM background say about me and the way I live? What message and impression do I present to family, friends and business colleagues? How do I feel about myself when I look around my space at home or in my office? These are all considerations that require some introspection. It is no surprise that the home renovation and building industry is on an upswing right now. We are home…. We are looking around….and we now have time to tend to some things that have been low on the priority list for a long, long time.
Look at your space. Where do you start? Everyone’s situation and means differ. If you are financially stressed but feel that you need to do something about your space, you can do a lot by simply rearranging what you have and seeing what you can do with small changes in lighting or with paint. Maybe you are making larger structural changes that are long overdue. Whatever your approach, consider what you have on your walls in addition to furnishings. Keep the permanent elements of your space neutral and be more daring with color and trends with items that can easily be updated later at little cost; think pillows or blankets or throw rugs. Do your walls reflect the things that are important to you? Do the photos, art or objects give you a lift or reinforce your self-identity? Be wary of clutter. You don’t need to saturate your space with art or objects; give your eye places to rest. You have choices, so surround yourself with things that are special to you, things that make your space one that is nurturing and reflects your personality and interests. posted 11/23/20
Image vs. Object: How we personally assign value.
The way we personally assign value to art varies by the way we interact with it. Have you considered that some art is appreciated as an object, while other work is appreciated more as an image? For example, many love popular images of Van Gogh’s paintings that are printed on all sorts of everyday objects we can readily consume. In this case, masses of people can consume an image they feel an emotional attachment to. In contrast, you may be enthralled by, or feel a connection to, an original painting or piece of sculpture by a local artist; but there is only one in the world. In this case, you would not be interested in a mug or calendar showing images of these works: you would much prefer to interact with the original object in person and might want to invest in it. Art and objects are (mostly) created by human hands. The purpose of art is generally to illicit an emotional response from a viewer who interacts with the piece; art evokes genuine emotional connections. To varying degrees, we can sense and appreciate mastery of a medium, an artist’s expressive characteristics or an artist’s message. We perceive these connections most strongly through interactions with the original object. This is true whether you examine a delicately decorated Ukrainian egg, soak in a fine expressionistic painting, or stand immersed in an art installation such as Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Love is Calling’.
When we consider buying an art object, reproduction or object with art likeness applied, we each assign value in a form of emotional and financial calculus; How much is it worth to me to have this artwork in my life, divided by cost. Or, form of ownership/cost=happiness. This is not a real equation, but figuratively makes a point. If I have a choice of image vs. object, what am I willing to invest in each form? You might think, “I want the original painting, but I can only afford a print.”, or “That original painting makes me happy and I want it in my home, and its worth the price.”. Age or generation might play a big role in this calculus as well. I am of an older generation that prefers to hold objects in my hands, like books or photo albums, but I think that younger people may be more comfortable with the emotional impact of an image. As for art, I personally prefer to have the original to enjoy, rather than a watered-down version or copy. To each his or her own, it boils down to enjoyment. Have the things around you that you love, in whatever form that is most comfortable for you. posted 11/23/20