The Dilemma of Critique
Somebody argues something, another person can always argue the opposite. We all believe in different things, and we have different perceptions and beliefs. A lot of times, we are just talking from our own perspectives. But if a work does its job, it will tell us something about what the artist believes in. So what matters eventually is the artist’s thinking and his/her choices.
The World We Are Living In Today
Today there is an art world with no authority to tell us what we should do and what we shouldn’t do. There is no universal rule. We can do everything or anything. An artwork does not have to be perfectly painted or constructed, and it does not have to carry some deep meanings. But the artist should be aware of what the qualities their work have, what they are trying to say through their works, and what kind of issues their work could possibly raise. We ask each other questions during critiques in order for us to think about different issues that we might not be aware of otherwise. Hopefully, for our next work, we could be closer to what we want to realize through our work. No matter what we choose to do, there is always room for us to try to be better at it.
Usually, how a work troubles us is what makes it more interesting or provocative. There is a potential to amplify that trouble, so that it becomes so obvious and big that it will no longer be a “trouble”.
Everything around art-making and art critique is very complicated. And it’s becoming more and more complicated because nothing is for sure, nothing is fixed, everybody is different, and ourselves as human beings are complicated. So what can an artist do? What are we making art for? We can try to know about ourselves and our works, to know our purposes and to make our works better serve our purposes.
Thanks to my teacher Steve Cushner, I am able to summarize the above thoughts on art-making, and to try to understand many complicated and confusing issues in art.