Friday, June 22, 2018

ART, TRUTH AND ACCURACY

Not accurately drawn, but true:

That phase of a relationship where nothing fits and everything gets in the way and your feet are just too darn big.

On the other hand, accurately drawn but not true:

Artist Jon McNaughton uses realism to portray lies

Water, drawn as accurately as anyone could:

William Motta


Yet, Monet's treatment of water required the artist to look beyond accuracy, and seems even more true:




Two illustrations of foreboding houses.  It's obvious which one is more accurate, but which feels more true?

             


Art is no place to get lazy.

Meaningful truth in art is not a solid, and sometimes not even a liquid.

A picture's resemblance to what you see when you look out the window, or even into a mirror, can be a good starting place but it is only a starting place.



14 comments:

Meera Rao said...

Powerful post -spoke to me -thanks for the reminder : "Art is no place to get lazy." and thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I never liked Thurber but I see your point.

JSL

MORAN said...

I looked up McNaughton because I never heard about him before. He's a sick fuck.

Anonymous said...

Unlike you .

kev ferrara said...

The only way to get lazier than Thurber as an artist is to accidentally sleep-drool on bristol board during a catnap.

David Apatoff said...

Kev Ferrara-- Do you think the Thurber drawings would be any better if he spent ten times as much effort? They would probably look worse. For me, Thurber's contribution was the concept from his remarkable mind, reduced to paper with quicksilver speed and simplicity. I've often quoted Milton Glaser's point: "There is no instrument more direct than a pencil and paper for the expression of ideas. Everything else that interferes with that direct relationship with the eyes, the mind, the arm and the hand causes a loss of fidelity.... I like the idea that this ultimate reductive simplicity is the way to elicit the most extraordinary functions of the brain."

Meera Rao-- Many thanks.

JSL-- Thurber is definitely an acquired taste. I find his quality erratic, but for me his strengths earn him credit to offset his weaknesses.

David Apatoff said...

MORAN and Anonymous-- I'm not sure that "sick fuck" are helpful terms in this instance. I used the term "lies" very specifically. It is not the role of this blog to speculate about whether McNaughton's political views are misguided or ignorant. My point was simply that the artistic tools of "accuracy" or "realism" can be used in the service of objectively false content. When I say "objectively," I'm basing it on McNaughton's own inconsistency; he will conceal or lionize conduct by Republicans that he excoriates when performed by Democrats. The kind of mental gerrymandering that recognizes bad behavior when he sees it, but chooses not to see it when it suits his purposes, is per se dishonest.

Anonymous said...

McNaughton is a liar but he's not even a good liar. His bullshit patriotic realism is like the realism that supported Hitler and Stalin, but not as well painted.

Anonymous said...

Thurber is a acquired taste. Hated his work when I was trying to learn to be precise but now, together with this article that you have given us, his work rings true. Here in Australia, we have Michael Leunig, who as an artist, I could say the same thing about. But his words and,er, art are really something very expressive.

Anonymous said...

Your TDS is wearisome.

College Paper Help said...

Thank you for these photos, I really liked them!

David Apatoff said...

Anonymous-- I was not familiar with Michael Leunig, but I checked him out. He certainly has a very pleasant, amiable style. In some ways, he reminds me of Robert Blechman.

Other anonymous-- Don't get weary so soon. People raised your same point about HDS in the 1930s, but later the world demanded, "Why weren't you more energetic in your opposition?"

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