Everyone’s A Critic

Over the past few weeks I’ve discovered an ABC TV programme called ‘Everyone’s A Critic.’

The programme states that “each week a cross-section of Australians become Art critics as they discuss some of the most renowned art works in the country.”

Some of the critics are avid gallery visitors, whilst others are going into a gallery for the first time…

So far, I have watch four of the episodes and it is thoroughly fascinating to watch.

I’m sure that we are all aware that all of us have:

  • different points of view
  • grown up in different environments
  • have been subjected to different influences
  • Have different belief systems

A single piece of art can effect different people in dramatically different ways and often we judge the image and the artist based on what is there in front of us. How often do we see what we think the image is about, only to find that what the artwork is about (in the artist’s mind) is completely different.

One such image is “The Cripples” Arthur Boyd -1943. Pictured here, most who saw it were aghast that it was an image depicting those with disabilities in an unflattering way.

The Cripples - Arthur Boyd

It wasn’t until they heard the Artist’s backstory and the Artist Statement regarding the painting that they could begin to appreciate and understand why it was painted and what the painting was about. It was influenced by World War II and the fact that they kept sending previously injured soldiers back to fight again.

When I go to a Gallery I will look at the image first and see how it effects me then I will read the Artist’s Statement.

How about you? Do you read the Artist Statement first then look at the Art?

Written by David Johnson
September 2019

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