Saturday, July 7, 2012

Good Bad Art vs. Bad VERY Bad Art

As a visual artist who passionately engages in the process, both conceptual and physical, of art-making meant to be TRANSFORMATIVE and poetic, my eyes where drawn to an article in a local newspaper celebrating the "work" of a local artist. To the casual observer, that is, just about everyone, the drawings reproduced and described in the article as "exhibit-ready were ART. It is curious that even unintentionally very poorly drawn work can be celebrated as ART. In the case of the Madonna and Child above, awkward execution and mark-making that is obviously without expressive intention is simply the product of a sensibility NEVER held to any critical analysis. Are those "hot-dog" fingers the result of a meaningful conceptual strategy? Does this "artist" deserve the moniker?...perhaps in sunday painting groups that serve as groups of mutual self-service and therapy!

Peter Saul, on the other hand, is a very fine artist whose work is transformative, conceptually questioning and UGLY AS HELL! The Last Judgement(1993) can be read as offensive diatribe that takes on the the equally ugly aspects of the Roman Catholic Church and shoves them in our collective denying faces. Saul, a impulsive moralist, gives us a cyclops God and Virgin Mary painted in garish colors describes in cartoon-like form that is not beatific but are MONSTROUS CREATURES purged of any spiritual allusions. They are rightfully scary! Saul's work is purposeful and expressive, not the product of an amateur sensibility that serves a stunted idea of the beautiful that is vapid and insulting to those seeking art that provides the potential for epiphany.

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