Galleries : Art Smart
Viewing art: What should a viewer know in order to form a response to a work of art?
The exciting part of looking at art, especially contemporary art, is staying open to being surprised by the unexpected or reassured by familiarity. Whether a collector or novice art appreciator, everyone brings their own experiences and expectations to their responses.
As you approach a piece of art, allow yourself to interact with it. Consider what first catches your eye and causes you to stop and regard the work. Is it the color, sense of line, unique viewpoint, or does it just make you uncomfortable, offending your sense of aesthetic? If so, ask yourself why. What could be altered to make a piece of art more aligned with your taste? It is one thing to be intrigued by art exhibited in a museum or gallery, but quite another when imagining it in your own home environment.
Both subjective and nonobjective viewpoints combine to develop an informed opinion. It's interesting to compare impressions of previously viewed art with something currently under consideration. Consciously reviewing your responses often impacts both points of view.
It does help to maintain an awareness of color and design principles, but the most important ingredient in reacting to artwork is trusting yourself. Stay curious about new artists, concepts and approaches, and be prepared to be dazzled.
Nancy Cramer, gallery owner and textile artist.