Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Eye of the Beholder

Art is a curious thing. One person’s mediocrity is another person’s masterpiece. There was a painting hanging in the Queensland Art Gallery that was a canvas painted black. Not subtle shades of black, not different textures of black. Just black. Is that art? Apparently, yes. Is it good art? Well that’s open for debate.

A piece that may appear to one person as “the internal struggle between good and evil”, may look to another as if someone has thrown up all over the place. So who gets to decide what art is all about – is it the artist or is it the art viewer?

Ultimately, art appreciation comes down to personal taste. If a piece (be it literature, music, a painting, or a sunset) speaks to you - reminds you of a place, a time, a thought, a person, a feeling, or asks you to delve more deeply into yourself - then it may appeal to you as valid art.

There are no rules about whether or not something is truly a work of art, although I have devised my own benchmark – if it’s something I could produce, it’s not art. If it exceeds my ability (wouldn’t be too hard mind you, most people above the age of three could do this) then it qualifies as legitimate art!

Some of my favourite works of art, by the likes of Michael Sowa and Quint Buchholz, can be found not in galleries but on notecards (they may well be in galleries too - don't want to sell these talented individuals short!). Check out for some more than mediocre art.


1 - Peter Anderson - Persons of Interest, Kingston, Norfolk Island, 2006; oil on canvas

2 - The Oozy Scab - 2008; Pencil on paper

3 - On the Rocks, Shelley Beach, Caloundra, 2002; oil on canvas

4 - Quint Buchholz - Title and date unknown; Notecard

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