Summer's End and Musings about Art

Took this shot on my way out of the last week’s opening reception for the art exhibition at the Gallery in The Park in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.  It was a cool, dreary and rainy afternoon and the bedraggled butterfly bush looked kind of sad, poking its remaining flowers through the railing on the aging front porch.  Kind of like it was making a last ditch effort for attention.  The image reflected my mood, a bit unsettled by the coming end of summer.

Summer's End

Summer's End

Used a slow shutter speed (a little less than a full second) and purposely jiggled the camera for effect. 

The inclement weather didn’t seem to hold down the attendance at the show however – they were parking the cars in the nearby fields and plenty of shoes were clomping over the old wooden floors and stairs of the Gallery.  Lot of interesting quality paintings, drawings and other media – you could go home with one anywhere from a couple of hundred, up to five thousand, dollars.  The show runs through October.  I have one image there (at the low end of the $ range).

Tell you the truth: some of the most fun for me going to these shows is eavesdropping – about my photograph of course, but for the other works as well.  I probably overheard about a hundred conversations.  Some of you may know my previous work life was in survey research and I know this is not good science protocol.  Who knows if these exhibition visitors are representative of art lovers generally, in any way.  Don't worry, I won't be drawing any big picture conclusions.  Think of it as focus group on art.

My observations: well, half of the conversations I overheard weren't about the art on display.  These were folks enjoying a day out, meeting friends and family and just having a good chat.

t was the other half that intrigued me more.  These were people talking about what the hangings on the wall meant to them.  There were a lot of words passed back and forth describing feelings, impressions, emotions, memories.

I can't tell whether there was some direct connection between what the artist intended and what the viewers received -- way too few samples to have any firm generalizations.  So my subjective conclusion was that the artist must have had his or her reasons for being moved to create the art (my guess is that artists wouldn't be good at describing some logical intent) and the viewer was experiencing some idiosyncratic reaction that moved them emotionally.  And these often were two most likely totally unconnected events.  But there was a connection.

And the thing was that there was a large amount of disagreement.  There was one piece that people almost universally derided, but two folks spent a lot of time viewing, seemingly mesmerized by it. 

I've studied statistics and I've studied psychology and I've studied photographic technique, but I've never had any training in art -- the philosophy of why people do art and why people are drawn to art.  I'm willing to bet there are lots of theories about it but in the end it appears to be just a mysterious emotional connection. 

I would love to hear others' views on this.  You can post a comment at the bottom of this blog.