Photo: Lifted from Marcus Coates website http://www.humannature.org.uk/artists/marcus-coates/
For some reason I spent the weekend contemplating modern art. I found myself in the Photographers Gallery and the Tate Modern and also had an Internet conversation with an American abstract artist.
Like a lot of people I am torn about modern art. I am very interested in alternative perceptions and fascinated by diversity. However I am also suspicious of some modern artists intentions. All too easily the modern artist can use profoundity and obscurity to mask a vacuum. However my inability to connect with an artist can be a reflection of my own lack of imagination.
This battle, I suppose is fundamental to abstract art. I think, like the society it reflects, modern art is all about confusion, suspicion, abandonment of excellence, a redefinition, irreverence, degeneration, surrender, well meaning, directionlessness, fun, light heartedness, comedy and paradox. One of my favourite artists is Marcus Coates. (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=AJfLd2w4Wbw). He is a naturalist and an artist and for me he reflects this absurdity and mockery well.
For me, Modern Art is a test on my perception. Is the artist trying to communicate something which has depth and meaning. Do I need to squint to see it. Should I make the effort to understand. Should I be ashamed that I doubt the intention. However, is my intelligence under attack- is the artist faking abstraction to mask an emptiness. Has the artist, brown nosed himself/herself into an elite group of self-confirming vacuuists and then by manipulation are trying to impose a delusion of value by creating self doubt in me. Am I being conned.
For me, this is the great test of modern art. Some abstract art reflects a great depth of understanding and meaning. Some reflects a persons ability to be able to manipulate ignorance. What is the intention of the artist.
Like many things it appears there is as spectrum of destructive and constructive intentions. Some artists are intent on sharing and giving positive affirmation to others. Some artists are trying to up-hold self delusion by passing that delusion onto others.
It works the other way to. The observer of art- is a rejection of abstraction a well-founded interpretation of questionable intent. Or is the rejection a blindness and an inability to listen to a genuine well intended voice.