Thursday, February 23, 2012

no offence to chimps...

"Picasso, as he so often did, said it best: An artist must be two people – one who knows how to paint, one who knows when to stop. We all know the old anti-abstraction anecdote about the chimpanzee who, given paper and colors, does a creditable “painting” which is subsequently entered into the local art show and wins a prize. What is less well known, is that left alone, the chimp will continue to apply color to the paper until he gets restless, then will roll the paper into a ball and eat it. What of those chimpanzee paintings the popular press loves so often? Ah, they were snatched away from the chimp by a curator at the moment he or she thought they were most ripe and ready. Who then is the artist?"

above written by Henry Geldsahler, from The Business of Art (edited by Lee Caplin)

In defense of animals I do think that they are capable of creative efforts that are beautiful and I have seen my share of bad abstract art done by people. Still, point taken we do need to know when to stop. Humans, like chimps can be guilty of overworking a piece. Yes roll it into a ball (um don't eat it) and don't enter it into a show! :-)

7 comments:

Jeanette said...

Ahh, now there's the problem. Knowing when to stop isn't it? We do instinctively know when the image reaches a strong similarity to the one in our head. However, we try to then put value added touches in an attempt to outdo our own senses and suddenly the point of no return has appeared. Despondence. Despair. Doubt.

We may be better off rolling it into a ball and eating it... ;)

Teresa Mallen said...

"...in an attempt to outdo our own senses", very eloquently put Jeanette. Who knew Alka-Seltzer was required in the studio?! :-)

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

def. don't eat it if the paper has oil paints on it ;p

Ann said...

That's my biggest challenge with watercolor. With the other media I have been working in, it is not so much of an issue for me. Maybe I plan better. But watercolor - knowing when to stop - when to step away from the painting - I need a referee!

Barbara Ann Goodsitt said...

Off topic:
This reminds me of an experience in a college study hall at the University of Wisconsin. I witnessed a young man who would read his class notes, then roll the paper into a ball and eat it! My roomate and I ran from the study hall in hysterical laughter after witnessing this crazy guy "study" like that for a while.

Feathers said...

Knowing when to stop can be a problem for me, especially with watercolor--not so much with colored pencil--maybe because it's a slower medium, pencils don't seem to have a mind of their own. (that fellow certainly had plenty of fiber in his diet! LOL!)

Teresa Mallen said...

Good advice Jennifer Rose! :-)

Ann, interesting point, I never thought about how the medium of choice could make a difference. I can understand how the desire to keep going might be rather strong when using watercolour.

Barbara, that is so weird and so funny! Thanks for sharing.

Feathers - ah someone else who is tempted to get carried away with their watercolour paints. :-)

I think I would lean towards wanting to stop before a piece is done versus getting carried away. No doubt because cps are a slower medium, I can find myself bored and tired of a piece yet I know I must continue on in order to deepen the values more etc.

And I have yet to eat my art, overworked or underworked! :-)