Although an artist's work represents the culmination of an intensive effort to communicate a message, how the message is interpreted by others is often how the artist's work is remembered. Thus, even though a particular artist may believe that he or she has reached the apex of artistic expression, the critics' interpretation of the work typically carries more weight than the work itself. Thus, when examining new exhibits of artists it is important to consider not just the work that has been produced, but also to consider how the critics have responded to the work overall. Only though considering the critic's response is it possible to understand the larger public response to the work that will ultimately be produced.
With the realization that the critics' opinion of a particular artist and his or her work is critical for understanding public response to a particular artist and their work, there is a clear impetus to examine the overall methods that critics employ to examine a specific artist's work. Utilizing this as a basis for research, this investigation considers the critics' response to three artists: Elizabeth Murray, Richard Tuttle, and Oscar Bluemner. Through a careful consideration of what the critics have noted about the works of these artists, it will be possible to elucidate how critical opinion of artwork can shape how the individual views the artists' work even before actually observing it. Further, by exploring how the critics have responded to these artists, the variable nature of art criticism will be effectively illustrated.
[...] As noted by this author: Spanning some 40 years and weathering many ‘-isms,' Tuttle has held steadfast to a specific intellectual axis around which he has experimented visually. The chronological layout here illuminates how works crated decades apart share, both formally (materials, line scale) and philosophically (language, dimension, boundaries, reality), central poetic and dynamic concern: the links and limits of written and spoken language (p. 10). Thus, despite the specific label that has been placed on Tuttle's work, Janku argues that Tuttle's work has been able to transcend the boundaries created by written and spoken language. [...]
[...] Overall, Westfall appears to be quite beholden with Murray's work and its perceived power to evoke a deep response on the part of the viewer. Westfall is not the only author to appreciate Murray's unique style of painting. Plagens (2005) notes that 35 years ago when the art world had declared that painting was dead Murray stepped forward with a new style of painting that literally revolutionized the practice. Today at the age of 65, Murray is still attempting to reinvent painting to maintain its appeal and luster. [...]
[...] To accomplish his goal, Haskell and Schumann note that Bluemner used a single palate with two or three basic colors to generate considerable continuity in his work. Based on these elemental colors, Bluemner was able to create a psychic connection between the viewer and the work. Bluemner believed that each of the colors used in the work corresponded to music and its ability to shape and create mood. As such, color was an essential ingredient to Bluemner's work as it served as the principle means to evoke feeling and emotion in the viewer. [...]
[...] Thus, even though Murray has been painting for more than 35 years now, she is still able to capture both the attention of viewers and the specific nature of the subject that she is utilizing for her work. In addition to her ability to keep painting alive, Plagens also argues that what makes Murray's work so unique is that it utilizes a cacophony of sources for inspiration—for instance Stuart Davis, Frank Stella, and/or downtown graffiti. Despite the wide number of overlays in her work however, Murray is able to keep track of each of the sources and make them each an integral part of the work. [...]
[...] Unlike the other artists whose work has been reviewed in this investigation, Oscar Bluemner represents a unique inquiry into the art world because of his personal struggle to have his work reviewed and examined by critics. According to Kalina, Bluemner is perhaps best known for his dichotomous personality, which prohibited him from becoming a notable author during his lifetime. As noted by Kalina: Prickly, suspicious, hurtful to his friend and supporters, fickle and disloyal to his dealers, self-pitying but utterly convinced of his greatness, Bluemner managed to alienate those people who could have ensure his rightful place in history. [...]
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