Archive for May 16th, 2010

Name This Painting!


Today is the last day for entries in this year’s Name This Painting! Contest.  The competition ends at midnight tonight and I’ll be announcing the winner within the next day or two.  It may take me a while to choose between some of these titles.

There have been some pretty evocative titles that give me real pause.  Some even disturb me a bit.  It’s just interesting to see how others perceive a painting, to see what they are reading in the work.  I am sometimes startled at how different some of these perceptions are from my own.  Startled but not surprised.  It’s obvious that  we all interpret things we see or hear in different ways.   If not, we would all see things the same way and draw the same conclusions, leaving us with a consensus in everything we did.  This is certainly not the case in anything we attempt as a people.

Art is no different.  I think I may have told of an encounter at an opening where a viewer stood before a painting of mine of two intertwined trees.  To me,  it was about the dependency of the two trees on one another, about how they became one entity, gathering strength from each other.   This person saw it in a completely different light.  In their eyes, it was about domination and subjugation, about violence.  This person was quite disturbed by the painting and I was left standing there, looking at the piece, wondering if it had somehow exposed some hidden corner of my personal psychology that I didn’t realize I was uncovering.   I felt like I was being accused by this person of being a dominator.  A bully.  A rapist.

I realized quickly, after taking a quick inventory of myself, that this interpretation was more about this person’s psychology, about their own personal agenda,  than mine.  I felt better but the episode lingered with me.  This person’s reading of and reaction to a painting that,  to most, would be anything but controversial seemd so out of step with its intent.  It made me better understand how difficult it is to put anything out in the world without creating some adverse reaction to some extent.  As an artist, you hope to create something that translates in a universal manner but it’s a rare event given the way we all see things through lenses tinted with our own personal biases.  But I just keep trying.

So give this painting a look and give me a look at how your mind works by submitting a title……..

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