At our meeting on Saturday, May 11, MARSHA KROHN read a portion of a statement from juror Elisabeth Lanier that had been sent to the Galveston Art League. Many of the members who attended the meeting found it encouraging and insightful. Marsha asked Elisabeth for permission to reprint part of the statement here. She graciously agreed that we can share it on our blog. Here it is:
When Steve and I look at art, we’re looking for the three things that were outlined in the Call for Entries:
First, technique. Does the artist have a command of his medium? Does she know how to apply paint, turn a vessel, carve, capture light, understand the materials? Does he understand color and how to use it to achieve his ends? Has she mastered her medium sufficiently well to be able to break the rules? Does he know when to break the rules – and when not to?
Next, observation. Is the artist seeing something unique? Is he able to translate that vision to his medium? Is she looking past the obvious, trying to understand the thing more fully?
And, lastly, statement or voice. By applying his technique and his sense of observation, is the artist able to make a statement with his work? Does she bring some of her own sense of herself – her history, her philosophy, her energy – to her work? Is there something of the infinite in his work? Something that moves the work past mere description?
Because, to us, the real job of art is to awaken, inform, inflame, embolden, create a stir, arouse passion, elicit a memory, move to action, move to tears, remind us of our humanity, create a response.
To look at art is to immerse oneself in the vision that the artist had in creating the piece. You may not completely understand it – but, after all, you can look at and enjoy a golf tournament or a football game without fully understanding the complexities of strategy – but it should stir you, it should create a response.
Art – real art – moves past mere illustration into something of the infinite.
Illustration, of course, has its place in our world. Without it, our stories would be less dramatic, our instructions, less comprehensible, our greeting cards, less engaging, our advertisements, less tempting, our posters, less striking. As its name implies, illustrations illustrate i.e., provide (a book, newspaper, etc.) with pictures, explain or make (something) clear by using examples, charts, pictures, etc.
But, it is art that moves us: it is art – visual, performing, musical, literature, poetry – that is the very sould of our civilization.
– Elisabeth Lanier, Design Works