OK, back into this chapter....you know one reason I claim this book to be the book to end all books is because its PRACTICAL and LOGICAL and based on KNOWN HUMAN BEHAVIOR as I have found it over my lifespan of 145 years.....or so it seems....
Now let’s explore a bit further.
Long curved lines, short compact marks, rectangular shapes, angled lines, semi-circles stroked on with warm light grey, dark blue grey, black, pastel blue then left thick and some thin makes the assembly energetic, pulsating, vibrant and random to the eye. But does it communicate anything? No. Does it exhibit skill and knowledge of the craft? Yes, there is certainty and sureness in the marks and in their application. There is strong indication of a skill hand. The assembly seems to have a message!
The dominant mark is the line. Drama is created by intersecting lines rising and falling to the right. Some thick and some thin, some weak some strong. The backdrop is bland and relatively lifeless with seeping coolness imparted by a changing soft blue/grey without definition.
Short marks and dots of white, high yellow and blue impart a sprinkle of light energy. There is no message.
More marks of variety making for large blocks of a dominant color. Again the shuffle of grays in the background hedged in from the left by thick vertical lines composing a rectangular area of a middle tone blue grey. The deep grey yellow is composed of a series of marks aligned in an off the vertical direction left to right. Short lines of blue and white haphazardly break up the uniformity. Nothing is communicated. But there appears to be certainty and purpose in the execution and control of the diagonal high key yellow separating the dominant yellow area from the dominant blue area .The seems to be meaning in a greater projection of what is shown.
Ah hah! The 3 pictures are part of another painting. In isolation the three groups of marks convey no comprehensible message. They are a jumble of marks without clear meaning. If each was framed, lit and given pride of place in an important location there would be an inferred value awarded by its embellishment however there would be no value through the painting’s propensity to communicate a clear message.
When viewed in a total context these random extracts make sense and have recognizable meaning as they join with other marks. They become marks with a purpose. Each and every stroke on the canvas had deliberation, thought and direction which only become apparent when viewed at a distance and in total. Had the strokes not had these qualities the painter would not have succeeded to the extent he has in communication with his fellow man. The greater the knowledge, skill and dexterity the person who makes the marks has the greater is his skill in soliciting an emotional response from the viewer.
Hold on-is that right?
Here we walk back into the crocodile infested waters again. Can the skill, dexterity and knowledge of the stroke maker be that good, or that bad that his assembly fails to communicate? At what point does it change from good to bad, or bad to good? The answer is above. In the 3 outtakes I sought to find merit and meaning. I identified what I thought were aspects both technical and emotional but discovered nothing that connected to anything I could recognize or relate to. There was no emotional response to any part of my life-reality. If I was disposed to finding, in my imagination, some sort of meaning then I suppose I could-if I was so disposed!
Let’s go a bit further and look at some marks on boards that could be one form or another.
This mark has meaning STOP- Crocodile Infested Waters
This mark has no meaning $^8H )+bRQ mmmmY KUYTR
Yet it means the same thing- according to the maker of the mark!
It doesn’t matter how long I look at that as a picture(assembly), on a board attached to a stick in front of me, and the clear blue water it is sitting in, it doesn’t give me enough meaning(=warning) to prevent me from going into the water for a dip! Even if I was the best symbologist, code breaker and art critic in the world any meaning I was to extract from the marks would have no meaning unless that meaning prevented me from entering the water.
So there is a point where bad mark making is simply that-bad mark making; doesn’t matter if the marks were technically well done, showing great skill and dexterity. As an assembly there was no relationship to any circumstances or experience that would cause the viewer to respond by not entering the water. Of course this is predicated on the assumption that the viewer is not suicidal!
Maybe the message is partly revealed with the ‘mmmmY’ being somehow a code for ‘STOP’, in which case the viewer might not enter the water. In other words a connection is made and a response is solicited- an association is made between ‘mmmmY’ and the water in which the board stands. So the mark has relevance. But only if our viewer doesn’t enter the water. In other words the marks must generate a response that is logical, rational and predictable.
If another viewer was to happen along, look at the assembly on the board, shake his head and enter the water what can be said of the person who made the mark? If 100 people were to do the same, what can be said of the sign maker? Whatever is said of him would be the same irrespective of the apparent skill and finesse he had executed the marks with and irrespective of the adornment surrounding the board!
Did the message get through, that is the question?
Well...its getting interesting now and I hope you are enjoying the direction I'm leading you....