Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Inspired | Invigorated | Invoked

After visiting the Sasol Art Museum in Stellenbosch this weekend, I feel incredibly inspired again. Judith Mason and Willie Bester shared the two-floor gallery, with Mason's work occupying the top floor. A haunting, exciting, exhilirating experience! Her work expresses emotion, creative expression, deeply engrained personal perspectives about the world and a skill for expression that we rarely see or experience in artists' work today.

This is in total contrast to the Western Cape regional finalists exhibition for the ABSA L'Atelier Art competition. There is some really amazing pieces of art, but in my honest opinion, most of them are not as innovative, creative, expressionistic or artistic as art could be. I was merely impressed with the mechanical and conceptual skill of the pieces, instead of being moved. There are SO many debates already about art competitions, the judging process and the representation of Art. I know that I am one of MANY artists who feel that competition and sponsoring does not succeed in what they set out to do. They do not give voice to emerging, struggling artists, but rather to the more established entrants who are able to spend countless amounts of money on framing and presenting their work. This may sound like sour grapes, at not being accepted into the competition. I can honestly say that this is not the case. I do have my own personal feelings about art, galleries' inaccessibility and other things related to getting exposure for my artwork. But I also have an opinion about art, perception and the state of contemporary art when viewed in relation to Art history. Where we were, and where we are now. There's such a wide, diverse span of differing art forms, disciplines and directions - the competitions only represent a fraction of it. Maybe that's why they get so much critique... Because they limit 'what is art' in so many people's eyes. Because they decide which artists is 'better' than other, sometimes purely due to the subject depicted or adherence to current trends.