I’m offering these two paintings as a pair at £60
Recently I was involved in an interesting discussion about literalism in art; for example themes that are non-abstract and can be read as symbols or allegories, or which tell a story or narrative. A recent example might be Grayson Perry’s The Vanity of Small Differences (which refers to the story of The Rake’s Progress as depicted by Hogarth).
Without going into all the history, I’d say it’s quite a British tradition to view art in this way – as a means of telling a story. In the UK there’s also still a tendency perhaps to admire or prefer realist, or photo realist art as opposed to abstract work where meanings are unclear. For many, it feels more comfortable to understand exactly what the artist is telling us!
I don’t speak as an artist here particularly; I’m not attempting to break traditions or challenge ideas of what art can be (I’ll leave that to the geniuses that come along every century or so!). But I do hold a strong belief that art, at its highest level, is not easy to paraphrase or pin down to precise meaning
There are many reasons for this, one being that a truly creative mind doesn’t seek to reflect the status quo, but rather explores possibilities. Institutions, art colleges, academia, political influence through public funding – all of these can be a kind of death knell to creative thought processes.
One of the artists whose work I most admire, Joseph Beuys, spent his lifetime eluding these influences. Taken separately, his works individually aren’t easily accessible or understood, but taken as a whole his work becomes enriching as it’s explored more deeply.
I have a free day tomorrow to research online and indulge myself in appreciation of Beuys, so I’ll continue this theme tomorrow and I hope you’ll find it interesting!
In the meantime, some images..