The air at Summit Artspace yesterday was abuzz with reactions to Dorothy Shinn's critique of the Kaleidoscope 2009 exhibit. As always, she states her preferences for that which she considers to be non-traditional work and a bit of disgust for those who choose a non-traditional approach. This is old news. The danger of this black and white thinking is dividing artists into polarized groups: the-validated-by-Dorothies and the not-validated-by-Dorothies. This is actually a problem that I have been considering for many years. Us versus them. Very dangerous thinking. Art making and art appreciation come from the R-brain and the responses are largely visceral, instinctual.....without words. Words have their original in a more aggressive L-brain. Almost an unfair attack.....writers and artists simply are not armed with the same weapons. (weapons being a notion of the L-brain.) This interesting problem is discussed at length in Leonard Shlain's The Alphabet versus the Goddess. He is one of my personal heroes along with Erich Fromm.
My friends, Kim and Kevin, and I decided to judge the exhibit ourselves during the time that we gallery-sat. We judged independently (excluding our own works) and then came together for our choices. Interesting, we had some common works on our lists....in fact, none of the award winners. We all enjoyed the landscapes of April Cameron and Carol Klingel's wonderful drawing "Crazy Little Quantum String Thing Called Love".....one that probably would have been in the validated-by-Dorothy category, and the other probably not. Which shows to go you....both were in the validated by Kim-Kevin-Linda category.
I believe that there is room for Dorothy Shinn in this world......and for all of us. Artistic journeys are highly personal. Self-validation.