The Obligatory Abstract: So Passé

“California” and “Balloons Go ‘Round” were accepted into the Mistlin Gallery’s 58th Annual Spring Show, which is now over, so this post is much belated.  One of my paintings was in the Spring Show about ten years ago as well.  That show provided much more of an ego boost.  I was an artist among ARTISTS then.  I felt honored to be included. My memory hasn’t retained the image of the Best of Show winner that year, but I do remember that it was beautiful or at least skillfully rendered, i.e. deserving of the award (in my opinion).

At the risk of being labeled “bitter” or, even worse, “close-minded,” I will now commence the bashing session that this year’s Spring Show necessitates. Plainly stated:  the best of show winner sucked arse!  The colors were muddy, it lacked skillful execution, depth, emotion, energy or any other redeeming asthetic quality.  If you didn’t get a chance to see it at the show, it was an abstract in neutral colors that can best be described as what appeared to be a kindergartener’s attempt at recreating a Jackson Pollock.  But Jackson Pollock’s splashes in neutral colors have energy and clarity.

I am not the only person who thought it was ugly. Therefore, I can only conclude that the judge (yes, there was only ONE judge) felt compelled to obligatorily (my new made up word) award an  abstract the best of show prize. So passé.  Abstract expressionism reached its peak in the 1960’s. 

That being said, if the best of show had to go to an abstract, Alice Richards had a couple of abstracts in the show that were simply beautiful and full of energy, life and color.  Someone must have agreed with me because she sold one of them.  I wonder why the best of show winner didn’t sell?  Oh, wait, I know:  because no one would actually want to look at it every day.

Does this rant contradict my long-held belief that (in the words of Andy Warhol) “art is what you can get away with?”  Mr. Best-of-Show got away with it (“it” being the biggest prize); therefore, it must be art? Then again, we are talking about Modesto, after all, which begs the question: why do I even care?


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