Contemporary art? What’s that?

I was describing Stephanie LaFortune’s artwork as contemporary the friend said what’s that? I had to think for a minute about what I really did mean and I was wrong. I was thinking contemporary art tended toward abstract art. Contemporary art is art that in being made now by living artists. Hmm…that makes all the artists I work withcontemporary artist and me, too!

Abstract art is described as a movement in painting and sculpture that seeks to break away from traditional representation of physical objects. Abstract works explore the relationships of forms and colors as opposed to traditional art where the images are recognizable.

I think abstract artworks can be difficult for people to relate to because we humans are always looking for connections and similarities. It makes it difficult to find something to relate to in abstract work. I feel like abstract art is more about raw unfettered emotional relationship to the artist’s world.

I think the viewer must see the artwork in person before we can truly judge any piece of art. We all react to the colors and texture of any abstract, but I think it takes time to find the place where you and the artwork can come together. It’s easy to see a portrait and say, “that’s a face…I like it,” then move on. It takes time to look at a face, to study it and see what you can of the person and the artists. When you see work in person you can see the brush stroke or explore where one color begins and another ends. I think it’s impossible to really know about a piece of art without this personal contact.

Does it help if I tell you art is like wine…it really doesn’t matter what someone else’s opinion is …it’s about what you think after you’ve had a taste.  There are many artists whose work I deeply enjoy, some that inspire me, but that doesn’t mean I love everything they make. The only way to know this is to taste it.

There are many contemporary artists in Siskiyou County. The Siskiyou Arts Councils Artists Registry Pages are a good place to get a sampling ofartists. Then get out to see both abstract and realism paintings and sculptures. I encourage you to take the time to view the art by spending a little more time looking at work you know you like and some work that might be new to you.

You can see many contemporary artists including Stephaine’s artwork at the Grand Opening of the Siskiyou Arts Museum on March 8, 20135-7pm