Thursday, 14 November 2013

Agreeing to disagree

Have you ever noticed that visiting a show by yourself is a different experience to visiting it with a companion? I often find that another pair of eyes on an artists' work helps me to see and feel more at an exhibition, even when we disagree about our reactions to it. In fact, that is what is so valuable about discussion. It doesn't make you or your companion more right or wrong than each other, after all opinion is only opinion and personal reactions are unique.

This clip from an article by Mark Amery (The Dominion Post) echoed the same thought:
“It’s like we attended a different show,” exclaimed guest Martin Patrick on the visual arts podcast I host, Circuit Cast last week. Such was the difference in our impressions of an exhibition (Soundful at City Gallery). What was old hat for me, proved stimulating to him.

So it often is, and should be. Relish the diversity of taste around fine things I say. Tussle with it. Particularly when contemporary art itself continues to get ever more varied in approach.

Feelings can also vary widely across an artist’s practise. Art is speculative. Good artists take risks, leading to a mix of failures and great pay offs – far more interesting than years of ho-hum production. In all this flux the role of the critic is to empower difference in opinion and our confidence in stating it. It’s often more interesting when you disagree. "

 So next time you visit the Beetroot Tree, bring a friend to talk to, catch us at the desk or when serving your coffee and have a chat about the pieces on display then we will all have a richer, deeper experience.


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