Where is the Positive in Modern Art?


'The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist; a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.”


Ursula K. LeGuin



This quote made me wonder why „negative“ art is often considered more intellectual. I think that applies for the appraisal of modern paintings in particular, where mostly provocation and negative feelings are considered intellectual and paintings with a positive message tend to be viewed as naive or superficial.



I think it is somewhat different for music. Classical music, for example, can touch your soul and make you feel elated or happy or content. In this area of the arts the negative and positive range of feelings being expressed through the artists co-exist without one or the other being considered „inferior“.



The function of an artist is to communicate an idea. Sure, art fraught with drama and angst as well as disgust- or pain- evoking art can be thoroughly thought-provoking and intellectual. That is art – sometimes great art. But that is only one side of human expression.


Why should painting not be more like composing music?



In this world everyone is challenged to make sense of their sensory impressions, their emotions, their experiences and their thoughts. Reality can sometimes seem to be overly chaotic.Everyone has this individual task to integrate all of their experience to create a sense of unity.One of man's greatest virtues is to overcome adversity. If the artist succeeds in – for a brief moment – re-creating a sense of unity and harmony and bring ease and order to the viewer's mind that should certainly count for something. To me, though you cannot pinpoint exactly how such an effect is produced - that is communication, that is art! As I see it, there is nothing superficial, naive or stupid in that.



So, I will keep painting works of art that I hope will touch people emotionally and intellectually and that will make people happy ...


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