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ARNOT MUSEUM - DECEMBER 16TH 2005

 

REPRESENTING REPRESENTATION IV
Curated By John O'Hern, Executive Director

 

 

EXTRACT FROM CATALOGUE NOTES BY JOHN O'HERN

When we began this series of exhibitions on trends in contemporary realism I wrote about looking for the something else" in a work of art‑something more than masterful technique and intriguing/beautiful/provocative subject matter. Latter I wrote about our commonality with and in nature‑a commonality artists can manifest for us in their work. In the essay for Re‑presenting Representation V, I urged artists to go beyond the surface to mine the sources of their inspiration and to connect with the source that the masters whom they admire also sought.

The original concept of re‑presenting realist art is still valid as I reflect on ten years of meeting artists, looking at, collecting, and exhibiting their work, interpreting the work for the public and listening to its variety of responses. The public's appetite for recognizable subject matter in art and the artists' need for exhibition venues, recognition, and sales, have been met to a greater degree than ten years ago but at nowhere near the level that the quality of the work deserves or the public interest demands.

We continue to represent" in that there is a vast amount of excellent work being done throughout the world and we can only show a small amount of it. This year we have increased the amount of photography and introduce video, only touching on the work being produced in those areas.

Writing this essay as I sit in an artist's studio in Santa Fe listening to a recording of Yo Yo Ma playing Bach's Unaccompanied Cello Suites, it could be assumed that I am completely out of touch with the real world. It is a rare time such as this that allows me to recharge my batteries and to think about how I can return to the real work of joining with our staff to create an environment where the public can comfortably explore art, make it part of their lives, and be entertained and enlightened by it.

Although I believe the artists whose work we show continue to address essential themes of our material and spiritual nature. I have learned that many people in our audience have lost touch with their natural ability to connect to those themes because of desensitizing media and narrow. specialized education.

 
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