Shapes & Nightmares

Shapes & Nightmares

Art criticism, art interpretation invariable looks for meaning in order to justify its own existence, but sometimes meaning follows creation, and sometimes meaning is absent altogether until someone asks for it.

Artists work in form, by intuition, and under a vague framework; there are any number of ways within modern art to arrive at a finished piece. As a viewer, or a critic, there is this idea that a narrative or principle underlies every work of art. While this is possible, were one to ask an artist whether a concept, led to a series of motifs, and finally a finished piece of work, few artists would want or be able to claim the linear and hierarchical process of thought necessary to produce such a work. It’s possible to render a narrative within this image. Is it likely that the artist had a narrative, a message in mind while creating this work? Not at all. The majority of art is about visual ideas, inspiration i.e. what feels “right” to the artist, and not about overarching themes.

Aesthetically this image works well in terms of its use of color/ value, the balance of the shapes, its use of detail and obfuscation. It’s possible that the artist had something deep in mind in creating this piece, but only those who aren’t and haven’t ever actively engaged in making art as a compulsion would bet that form followed function.

Design by: OrdinaryFox
Price:  $24.00 @ Threadless
Colors: Grey/ “heather White”

Owl Abstract Collage

Owl Abstract Collage

Mixed media, the dirty Rauschenberg style of composition is largely absent from the world of apparel. Why this is is hard to say; while this design does have specific elements that might get lost in translation is also has large and bold elements that will transfer just fine. With the rise of streetwear, the ubiquity of Basquiat, you’d think that the style that bridged abstract expressionism and pop art and acts as a stylistically antecedent to street art would be more common, but it is in actuality rather rare to see.

The composition for Owl as a whole is rather blocky. The image isn’t necessarily going for the frenetic energy that might be expected from an artist playing fast and loose with layering and assemblage; rather the owl, a symbol of knowledge and wisdom since the time in which Athena was relevant stands as a symbol for the state in which knowledge exists and is acquired in our distracted and fragmented time of awareness.

‘Owl’ represents contemporary youth and vitality in the sense that the main body is rigid by necessity, because youth and the ensuing recklessness that that entails can no longer sustained within our society of prolonged and ever expanding inequality. The youth today can’t afford to be young; not for a time as was common in the past. Today people are young into their thirties because the stability, the conditions to allow them to be otherwise have all but disappeared and the “prolonged adolescence” is rather a failure of society to allow them to find footing with the ‘adult’ world’. ‘Owl’ is a piece of our time not all knowing, but rather staring back and judging as to how so much optimism and vitality might be wasted.

Design by: NJordur
Price:  $22.38 @ Redbubble
Colors: Black, White, Grey, Tan