An Innermost Journey: The Art of Shauna Cook Clinger, in the main gallery at the UMFA through February 15, 2009, raises old questions about the relative importance of content versus form. The museum’s guidebook, Quarterly, credits Cook Clinger with “great artistic skill,” but such assertions are always subjective. Too often they come down to a viewer’s asserting, “It works for me and so it must be good art.” Does conveying content well in itself constitute proof of artistic quality? Regardless of the answer to that question, half an hour in the gallery is enough to make clear that the content, and specifically the narrative content, of these paintings totally trumps such painterly virtues as composition, drama, brushwork, and the rendering of almost everything but the subject’s faces…
READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE NOVEMBER 2008 EDITION OF 15 BYTES.
Geoff Wichert has degrees in critical writing and creative nonfiction. He writes about art to settle the arguments going on in his head.
Categories: Archived Editions