To be honest, I feel that Art cannot be judged. What causes one person to paint this image over that is a very personal choice in matters of Art, and one choice no better than the other if offered from a place of authentic need to express. One person may paint the darkness that has befallen him/her as an 'exorcism' or means of communication and this can be construed as Art; and it does not need to be attractive or marketable. Others (my favorites) paint something 'beyond', something intangible and unknowable, like icons for 'what might be'. Many paintings offered in traditional representational galleries are celebrations of the artists' reality, hopefully containing 'expressive marks' of the creator, telling us as much about how the artist felt about the subject as a two-dimensional representation of 'where he/she was'. Others are actually craft created by people who have become very good at 'wiggling the brush' and paint attractive representations of the world in 2-D for fun, to earn money, or just because they can. It's all fine, just don't expect me to call it 'Art'. (This applies to myself too, of course....In truth, I'm guilty of all of the above. When I do agree to jury an art show, often I will think about what the painting tells me of its creator; who is a left-brained, hard worker, who is courageous and painting from the heart, who is having a tantrum on the canvas and calling it art, etc., etc. In trite horse paintings I often see the ego; in wonderful realism, the dedication to craft (technique is, after all, craft); I love to see courageous, expressive paintings and willingness to think 'out of the box and communicate something of the artist's authentic nature aside from her ego.
Yesterday I received an email from CB asking "would you please look at my paintings and tell me why I didn't get in this national show?" I answered her personally, but the following is the list I think is the only fair way to evaluate art for a show. I developed a system that starts off with quantifying those elements of visual arts that I feel can be evaluated and judged, and I assign each a number out of ten. I then total the list and those paintings that score the highest in the show, all are evaluated more personally. For those of you who want to know what those categories are, I list them here....
- COMPETENT USE OF MEDIA: Craft, skill, technical competence and confident execution of media.
- DESIGN COMPETENCE: Proficient use of design elements i.e., shape, colour, line, value, texture to support idea. Abstract appeal and composition.
- EMOTIONAL IMPACT: Does the work invite scrutiny, thought & feelings beyond obvious visual pleasure/interest?
- CREATIVITY: Has the artist thought 'out of the box'? Is there an element in the work that is new, unexpected, brave?
- MARK ALL YOUR PAINTINGS OUT OF TEN, AND ASK YOURSELF THESE TOUGH QUESTIONS. (P.S. MANY OF MINE WOULD FAIL MY TEST MISERABLY....JUST TO LET YOU KNOW!) Happy creating!