President’s Talk – A Guide to Understanding Art – Keith Oram
The overriding message from the presentation by Keith on Wednesday night was that appraising Art is not about whether you like a piece of work or not, your personal opinion is not required. It is about identifying what the artist is trying to do or say and as Keith put it ‘does it do what it says on the tin’?
Understanding the format used is a good place to start. Is it portrait or landscape, monochrome or colour, oils or clay etc., in other words what exactly are you looking at?
As an Artist as well as following traditional methods to engage the onlooker (e.g. rule of thirds) you can help the appraiser by giving clues about what you are trying to say. For instance, is there a ‘back story’ or any further information that will help your ‘dialogue’ with the painting and with you as the artist? This is why a Title for the work can be an important clue to what the Artist is trying to convey.
Developing Artists are not confident in breaking the rules and Keith talked about the process an Artist goes through as they develop techniques and confidence. He referred to a Japanese idea called Shu.Ha.Ri
Shu – when the artist starts out and obeys the rules and feels protected by them.
Ha – The artist starts to break free, feeling confident to move beyond the basics
Ri – The Artist becomes Separate or has reached Self Discovery. At this stage the Artist appraises himself/herself as they continue to learn.
Keith continually opened the floor for debate during the evening. The audience really enjoyed the opportunity to join in with their own ideas of appraising art, and what dominates the making of art; process, materials, ideas, themes and how to connect with your audience.
Thank you to Keith for ending this year’s programme on such a high note.
Information regarding the Programme 2019/2020 will be sent out in July. We look forward to seeing members on Wednesday 18th September where Norman Keech will be talking about ‘Changing Wolverhampton: The Drawings of John Fullwood’.
In the meantime, I might see you on one of our Painting Days,
Happy Summer Everyone.