353: Talking About Paintings

“Field by the Lane”, 24″ x 30″, o/c.

REALIST ARTISTS believe their work explains itself. They think what the viewer sees and feels is adequate. I sympathize with such ideas. But artists who can explain their work will have an advantage over those who cannot.

Many artists feel postmodernism is displacing the representational forms they love. Some view it as a ploy where craven publicists promote postmodernist art as a massive joke. But the problem is not bad art triumphing over good art. The real problem is inadequate communication.

Postmodernist art, with its political and social controversy, has an innate social contagion. More subtle art forms are less contagious and it is difficult to express their importance. Imagine two exhibits. One has an immediate postmodernist hook. The other has an elusive beauty and is difficult to explain. The show that is easiest to describe will get media attention. Controversial shows will always prevail over the non-controversial. Your exhibit about the beauty of nature won’t get as much coverage as the show about a prosaic postmodernist cause du jour. Everyone important will be talking about the cause du jour. Your beautiful paintings won’t have a chance–unless you communicate more effectively.

In the communication revolution, those who communicate best prevail. That is a difficult prognosis for artists whose work is poetic and beautiful rather than offensive and controversial. But artists must accept responsibility for the success of their work. They must communicate why their work is important. Playing the role of the miffed bohemian, no matter how satisfying, will not be sufficient compensation for a successful career.

My career is important to me. I view those who buy my work as patrons of my art project. They make future work possible. In their absence, I have no future as an artist. But it isn’t my patrons’ job is to articulate why my work is interesting and important. It is my job.
In the video below I explain in more detail the importance of effective communication.

Brad Teare –March 2019

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Updated: 2nd March 2021
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