“I truly believe artwork does not exist without the viewer. As an artist you have to let go—something happens that you are not a part of anymore and that is totally unique to the person viewing it. When I see a person viewing my work, it’s quite amazing to me to see the different reactions of each individual…When a viewer faces a piece of art work, they bring all that is inherent in them, and my work creates a sort of catalyst they react to—this exchange is really where I think a work of art exists.” Boaz Vaadia
Sculpture by Boaz Vaadia
A dear friend of mine saw an exhibition of Boaz Vaadia’s work and sent me the above quote. I thought it was great food for thought! It reminded me of the age old philosophical question, “If a tree falls in the forest, and there is nobody around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Well, that does depend on how you want to answer it. Do you talk about the physical phenomenon of wave disturbances, or about the human experience?
If an artist considers what is stored under the bed, in a closets, and storage units, or piled in the corner of their studio, they would say, why yes it sure does exist! The physical phenomenon. But does it have meaning without the viewer?
Doing an art show is a fascinating experience. To stand unobtrusively and hear the comments made by passersby is a real eye opener. I know what motivates my work. I know what I have tried to say, but each person brings his own experience to it, and sees it maybe in a way I never meant it to be seen.
What the viewer observes has been filtered by his senses over years of experience. Subsequently each person’s view of anything is completely unique. How important is this to your art? More importantly, does this disrupt the “creative spirit” or enhance it?
Here are two paintings meant to have specific meaning, but each of you viewing them will interpret them differently.
Hanging in the Balance Does knowing that your work might be interpreted differently than you intended, change how you would work?
What’s Left Behind
“…man learns while he sees and what he learns influences what he sees.” Edward Hall