psalm 110To what extent should an artist need to explain their work?

That’s something I started to think more about this morning. I was showing Gloria one of my recent paintings and pointing out some of its features. She appreciated it much more afterwards, saying that prior to my explanation the painting looked … well I can’t remember her exact words, but they weren’t complimentary.

She now realised that there was purpose behind the painted marks and symbols, she could appreciate they had meaning and she liked the painting a lot more.

Her response raised the question of what viewers expect from art and how many are interested in something more than pretty pictures. How much effort are they willing to put into looking an art work?
In my paintings I try to express ideas related to scripture, using text and symbols. Some of those symbols may seem obscure and the casual viewer may miss their intended significance. It might be easier if a glossary of symbols was displayed next to each painting to explain what everything means, but what room would that leave for the viewer to discover things for themselves? And surely discovery is part of the joy that we can get when viewing art – as long as we are observant, patient, and give the artwork enough respect to SEE it rather than merely glance at it.


2 thoughts on “SEEING Art.

  1. Hi, Tim: wanted to privately reiterate my kudos for your post in “Revival Speak” ‘s discussion of anti-Christ. I can’t agree more it is EXACTLY the right approach: “here are the scriptures addressing the topic, and here is what we should understand from them.”

    Seems to mesh with your comments here about our approach to art: “…we [must be] observant, patient, and give the artwork [/scripture] enough respect to SEE it rather than merely glance at it.”

    Blessings, Steve

  2. Steve, it seems to be the common philosophy that each viewer or reader can create their own interpretation and everyone’s interpretation is equally valid.

    That kind of thinking has been around for a long time in the arts and literay worlds. Unfortunately many people are seeing scripture in the same way and they give no thought to the AUTHOR’s intention and meaning. And by the author I mean both those who actually wrote a book or letter and more importantly the Holy Spirit who inspired the writers. While we clearly dont; have access to the men used to wrote scripture, we DO have access to the Holy Spirit and one of His roles as described in scripture is to teach.

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