To Shock or to Impress?
Last week I visited the Royal Academy in London for their Summer Open Exhibition. I spent 3hrs looking at the array of work spread out among several rooms. Walls encrusted with little gems and also big monstrous pieces…walkways scattered with sculpture and weird and wonderful appendages hanging from it’s ceilings. These are my refections from the visit.
Some of the paintings amazed me, some I liked enough to maybe live with…but not for the price! A few inspired me and some appalled me! So here is the dilemma of the Artist - are you creating your work to shock, to inspire, to make people feel good and fall into your world or just to show off your technical ability? I suppose in an ideal world you would do a mixture of all these things, not necessarily in the same painting but as threads running throughout your work genre. Or, you may choose to deliver on one criteria alone.
With this said, it still surprises me how some paintings ‘seem’ to exist purely for the shock factor alone. I could understand this if the aim was to communicate a potent message but when that isn’t the case and the work is in such a simplistic style (I think you know what I am getting at) is it really appropriate to include it in an exhibition of this stature?
Now maybe that is the point…I know the intention of the exhibition is to give everyone a chance to exhibit (not just the known artist) but I challenge this because surely it is somewhat disrespectful to those artists who have trained for years and studied their field to be next to work which has clearly been produced with little skill? Or, is the skill that of being so naive that the result is close to a child’s drawing?
There is certainly an innocence in this type of work which is very hard to create as a conscious artistically trained adult and I admit myself, I do find this intriguing at times. So what do you think? Do you find it annoying that some paintings can appear so immature and find themselves on the walls in a Royal Academy or do you find it reassuring that they have encompassed all walks of art from all walks of life?
I suppose the bottom line is to know what your ultimate intention and message is when producing your own artwork and being clear who your audience is, then staying true to that intent. I know my intention is to create art which inspires people to feel an emotion, connect with a part of themselves they may have lost and want to be reminded of that feeling by feeling able to live with the piece and enjoy it for years to come…
My working ethos is 'Play & Revelation' where I continually explore new ways of working, sometimes even destroying works to transform into new!
From February 2019 Sonya will be selling her collections at 'Leaf Creative' in Huntley, owned by Peter Dowle. This beautiful garden centre specialises in unusual shrubs, acer trees and hand selected plants. The perfect place to showcase her leaf inspired ceramics!
Sonya is pleased to announce that having been a provisional member with the Cotswold Craftsmen during 2018, she has now been accepted as a permanent member and invited to be publicity officer on the committee. Sonya will be exhibiting her work at a number of County Shows in 2019 - watch her events page for more upcoming details.
Sonya is now offering 1 day 'Pottery Workshops' with a national craft course provider. Start 2019 learning something new! In 1 day attentive tuition with Sonya you will learn throwing, coiling and hand-building techniques.
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