No Irony or Cynicism

I was at a gallery recently for an artist's talk, and the curator started by saying that he was not at all interested by pretty or decorative art, in a very dismissive and disdainful tone. He felt art should make a statement about current affairs (especially these days) - political or social - otherwise, it had no point.

It wasn't the place or time to "defend" myself, so I kept my thoughts to myself. I believe that he devalued the effect that the actual process of making art might have on a person. What I wanted to say is that for me painting serves two main purposes:

1) As a process, it is an act of meditation, to focus my mind and my hands on what is in front of my and to be entirely present in articulating an image I choose; it's a small moment of peace (as much as possible when often there are sirens, chatty passersby, etc.) and even a sense of victory over a small, but real challenge. Basically, it keeps me sane.

2) In the results, finding instances of beauty in my immediate environment created by light and color, both natural and man-made, helps give me a sense of perspective that even with all the distressful events I can rejoice in what can be pretty mundane (the shadow cast by a fire escape!) and take a deep breath of appreciation. And perhaps share some of that positivity with you!

It continues to baffle me that in major cities like New York and Los Angeles, the “art world” mainly values conceptual art, the more cynical or ironical the better. How has beauty gone out of fashion? Having said that, representational art does continue to earn respect and appreciation out West, in less “sophisticated” cities, as well as among “regular folks”.

But that hardly matters to me, because I am not trying to make a fashion statement! What are your thoughts?