Most artists would agree that their work is an attempt at communication, even if a non-verbal one. The idea of a conversation with viewers is a helpful perspective because it implies that this communication does not exist in a vacuum, going in one direction only. We use the term “personal voice” in reference to what we are trying to communicate, but we should grant a “voice” of sorts to our audience as well.
The conversational aspect of our work begins with an inner dialog as we track our progress. Later, when this work is in front of an audience, it speaks with our viewers. Thinking about our work as a partner in a conversation with the viewer forces us to consider an outside point of view.
Mark Tobey once stated that “art needs to come through the avenues of meditation, only then can one have a conversation with a painting”.
We can think of the work as existing between two sides of this conversation. The artist communicates with as well as through the piece, while the audience also communicates with the work. In order to achieve this creative conversation, something deepers must be instilled in the work, beyond the superficial appearance. If a viewer can take in the whole piece with one glance, it will not be much of a conversation.
Part of the self-critique process involves evaluating what you offer your viewer. Have you considered your own intentions and meanings deeply enough? How will your work engage your audience? Have you given too much, or too little information? Respect your viewer, engage their intellect, and give them more than they are expecting.
The Messy Studio Podcast is a CORE Publication MGMT production.