Yes, I can see it when it is there, the special something that makes my eyes want to linger on a piece of artwork, the unfathomable aura an artwork give off, as if saying, “there is something more here than meets the eye”.
Yet when my forebrain tries to analyze that something, like a vaporous mist, it simply disappears. Professionals in the art world have written numerous essays and books on what is good art, mostly describing technical abilities of composition, colour, aesthetics, and design. Laymen simply say, it looks so real or I love the colours or some such remark.
None of that is it however, that special something that makes you want to own a painting and live and talk with it for a life time.
Modern art has a language of it’s own, namely a rebellious streak of anti-technical and aesthetical values, exchanging it for shock, creepy, super-wonderous, unreal and often down right nasty and ugly attributes. There is even a Shock Show advertised in one Toronto gallery.
But guess what, there is nothing shocking in our century any longer, perhaps maybe child abuse, bloody violence and war, and even those are mundane fodder for TV addicts, seen over and over again in cop shows and now surgical programs.
We as a people have seen it all!
So what can disturb and awe?
Really only everyday life can, the beauty of it and the possibility of a transcendent way of being, but modern art is too cynical to accept that they have explored all the gamut of conceptual possibilities and might need to return to intuition for answers. Habits die hard. And we have habitually sought out conceptual art for a very long time, and even though we see how ho hum it truly is, without much merit, we are still trying to keep it revived with shock and kitsch. But no one is moved any longer.
Good art is art that touches you in some way intuitively and makes an impact on your soul and feelings, not just your mind, it has that elusive special something that affects your gut into saying AHA, and vibrating in tune with it’s vibrations, like a real Van Gogh, that roots you to the spot and makes you want to take it home and care for it forever.