Facing Facts About Art I Don’t Like
By Cathleen Elise Rossiter
“Look, it’s my misery that I have to paint this kind of painting, it’s your misery that you have to love it, and the price of the misery is thirteen hundred and fifty dollars.”
In my journey to discovering the art that I enjoy – art that has something to say to me about my life, life in general, mankind, or what-have-you – I invariably encounter art that has the opposite effect on me. Not being one blessed with an effective Poker Face, my impression of the art in front of me is quite clear by my expression. Although I always try to be diplomatic (“my Mamma taught me right,” as my friend Nancy always says), the writer in me who simply must describe the precise reason or reasons why the art repulses me too often wins out – to the chagrin of those in my party (“Who’s she? Is she with you? NOT ME!”).
My high-mindedness regarding art began in grammar school with my first official visit to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston Massachusetts. I was completely in awe of the art that surrounded me. Everything else that came along simply had to meet the same standards. It wasn’t until I began writing Art Life Connection and embarked on a quest to learn all I could from the art that crossed my path – no exceptions – that I began to appreciate whatever form or quality of art I encountered.
What I have come to understand is although the product of an artist’s expression is the tangible result of said expression; the thing (music, painting, poem) that communicates the artist’s message, the essential component of the act of communicating the message is the effort and the personal condition that the artist pours into the product. The quality of the result is not important – helpful in making the message more easily digestible, but not important.
Some would say that art exists to bring beauty to our lives. They are not wrong. What often is overlooked or misunderstood is that beauty can come in the form of a poignant message delivered through an off-key tuba rendition of Amazing Grace played with the gusto, love, and conviction of an eight-year-old during his first parents’ concert; or the Portrait of a pug dog painted with the unsteady hands and failing eyesight of a doting, elderly owner with no other family. I am learning that the beauty we derive from the creative expressions of others comes from the artist’s person that he or she pours into the finished work rather than from the quality of the work.
Art is a means of communication above all. The artist creates because he or she needs to tell the world a truth. This truth can no longer remain untold so it wells up inside the artist until it comes out on paper, canvas, or through an instrument or dance, or any means necessary as appropriate to the message. Let me be always open to the message, regardless of the vehicle.