Peter J. Blackburn offers closing remarks to complete his viewpoint as to the appropriate roles the web should play in promoting our art.
Dining at a picnic table outside a seafood hut some weeks ago, my eyes couldn’t help but notice all the cell phones. A gentleman on my left stood near his Porsche texting on his iPhone. Both a child and mother seated to my right had their hands busy with a phone, the youngster playing some noisy and annoying video game. In front of me sat a whole family, each one with heads bowed to that small glowing light emanating from their laps. Little did they care that their food was getting cold! And inside, through a large glass window, I could spy three, four, no, five customers awaiting their fish and chip orders by pushing little buttons, swiping fingers, and rotating those hand held devices from one angle to another. At one point, I suddenly realized I was the only one not engaged with a phone!
That the cell phone is everywhere, used by almost everyone, at every hour, every minute, every second, seems a compelling reason to place likenesses of our work on the web. As displayed via our computers, our iPads, and yes, our cell phones, the web heralds the news that we and our work exist somewhere on the planet.
So, over the years, resemblances of my work have found their way on the web. There are sites and pages where you can peruse representations of the gum and casein photographs I create—all posted as an announcement, as a token of information, as a spark of motivation.
However, truth be told, the primary reason I place these gestures of my art on the web is so they may serve as encouragement to you to come and see the work for yourself.
Now, I realize for reasons of distance or convenience most viewers cannot and are confined to enjoy only what the web can offer. My only wish is that one and all would see my images on the web as quite imperfect representations, not the genuine articles.
This whole issue was driven home to me three weeks ago during a visit to the big art museum in Dallas. On special exhibit was an assortment of exquisite floral works by various painters from Chardin to Matisse. I was mesmerized by virtually every piece, including the five paintings by Van Gogh. I sat on a bench for nearly an hour just feasting upon all the beauty which graced the gallery space around me.
The exhibit made such an impression (um, no pun intended), I was compelled to seek out the published catalog for possible purchase. But as I previewed the pages and examined the reproductions, I was utterly appalled by the lack of… the lack of life! It was then that I took the public copy of the textbook and went from piece to piece to compare the originals with the reproductions. In almost every case the reproductions failed to capture any of the sparkle, the texture, or vivid color of the original works just a few feet away on the walls. From Matisse to Bazille to Delacroix, the reproductions were dark, flat, and dead.
So awful was the catalog that I had to go back and view again every single piece of original painting so as to erase all memory of those dreadful reproductions.
And that’s how I feel when I see “my own work” on the web.
Go ahead. Glean what you wish from my images through your not-as-smart-as-you-think electronic gadgets. But please! Get out of your seats once in awhile and go enjoy all the tangible work on location you can find, at every opportunity you receive!