Painting’s Significance when viewed through different media!
Art has throughout history, been a constant as a form of self-expression. It has been utilized for basic communication, as a way to record history, and also chronicle events. As Simpson says, “…Mankind has an innate need to express itself by the direct creation of shapes and application of colors”
Although painting has constantly re-invented itself and changed throughout the centuries (from realism to Modernism), and despite the onslaught of modern mediums, it is a fact that it can never go dead. There is always a need to create, and for artists to ‘paint’.
Painting is constrained by its numerous limitations which bounds an artist and confines his work. A painting lacks movement, is two-dimensional and confined by space, size and mobility, depending on the choice of canvas. Also, with the advent of photography, which captured life-like situations, painters were no longer required to create portraits, landscapes or historical representations, as the photograph more accurately, realistically and efficiently captures these images.
Yet, despite so many factors that go against it, painting has continued to retain its significance that it had originally. As noted advertising moghul Charles Saatchi has reiterated, it is ‘the most relevant and vital way that artists choose to communicate’. We believe that viewing a painting in its full glory is much more effective and a profound experience than viewing it through a medium such as television or a laptop, and here are the reasons why;
As Georgia O’Keeffe says, “To create one’s own world takes courage.” And reproducing it by hand on a piece of paper/canvas takes exceptionally more so. There is a lot of thought that goes into an artwork, including an artist’s feelings and emotional state at the time. This can be experienced deeply only when a painting is viewed in person.
Take the SCREAM by EDVARD MUNCH for example, a painting that has evoked much interest ever since it was revealed, and has managed to stir up emotions in patrons that was previously thought impossible. A painting such as this, when viewed on the computer may not be able to evoke something similar so strongly, because a lot of the details are lost. The play of colours and its blending that has contributed to the significance of this piece, can be understood only when the painting is viewed in person.
Post-impressionist artist VINCENT VAN GOGH was known for many of his paintings, but the one which stands out was his famous, STARRY NIGHTS. Richly hued in blue, yellow and gold, the painting is rendered very simply, but its uniqueness lies in the use of the ‘Impasto’ method of painting seen during his time.
As Sebastian Smee of the Boston Globe expresses very eruditely, “Call me a curmudgeon, but I remain completely underwhelmed by it when viewed on the comp. It’s not just that Google’s interface is frustrating, or that the choice of viewing possibilities is constrained and seemingly arbitrary… The human eye can grasp the thickness, weight, and texture of the yellow impasto Van Gogh used for the stars and moon in the painting in person, much more effectively than a camera.”
The above are just a few of the many points that will be discussed in future weeks on what is the significance in viewing art in person at a gallery, and viewing it on a screen in the confines of your own home. Our personal experience has always showed that paintings evoke in people and especially children a very primal instinct, and viewing them in person is always an enriching experience.