"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

How to View an Art Exhibit

Yesterday I took my "artist's day" at the MFA and spent some time in the Alex Katz exhibit. Here are some of my favorite images from the show. 

When I view a special exhibit, I go more than once. Since I have a membership to the art museum (money well spent) I can go as often as I like.

The first time I go through an exhibit, I read all the comments on the walls and the paintings and get a feel for who the artist is. Then I take another spin around the room to look more closely.

Here is an example of what to note:

1. Content - people, landscapes, etc. 
2. Color and Contrast- is the color bold, subdued, monochromatic. 

3. Relationship of the artist to his subject matter? 

4. Style - contemporary, pop, impressionist, realism, etc

5. What is the artist trying to say through is work?

6. Do I like this artist? How does the work make you feel? (happy, sad, pensive, etc). 

7. If I could choose one image to take home, which would it be and why? 

Now you can take it further and incorporate it into your own work.

1. How does this compare and contrast to my own art?

2. Does the artist use any technic, color, or crop that I may be able to incorporate into my work to make it more effective?

At this point you can purchase the exhibit book or some postcards to take home for further study and reflection. You may also want to google the artist and the exhibit and see what others are saying about the work. 

Take it to the next level.

If you like, you can take your growth to a whole new level by emulating the artist -  copy some of his paintings or make photographs that resemble his images. I suggest this for your own personal growth, not to copy someone's style. Even the great painters of old used to sketch and paint off each other's work for educational purposes. Through this process you will have a deeper appreciation for the skill of the artist and you may develop a new style of your own.

Visit the exhibition as often as you would like. With each time you will take something new back with you and your art appreciation and knowledge will grow.

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