Holiday Show: Splendor
Dec 20, 2013 – Jan 19, 2014
LO & BEHOLD!
In her recent essay, Carol Strickland asks ‘Is beauty dead?’ and goes on to state that ‘the answer that springs from much of contemporary art is an unapologetic "yes." Grime, grit, death, destruction, flesh, and flaws have replaced pretty models, still lifes, and pastoral scenes.’
I beg to differ. Beauty is not dead. It can’t be. Without it, what are we, and how can we bear to go on? Like many other writers on aesthetics before him, Immanuel Kant wrote about Beauty. And, like other Enlightenment writers, Kant thought that Beauty was not a property of an object, but the way in which we respond to an object. While I do achieve deeply visceral responses when I view gritty, grimy works, I am often delighted with the response I experience when in the presence of what I perceive to be a truly beautiful piece of art.
Strickland goes on to say ‘Today, beauty is no longer about what's pretty, symmetrical, or harmonious. It's about what stirs the viewer to grapple with the world as it really is. Art is not a cosmetic to prettify reality or provide escapist pleasure but a hammer to smash our complacency.’ I disagree. I firmly believe that contemporary fine art can be beautiful without being relegated to the role of ‘decorative art’.
The answer to whether aesthetics has a place in contemporary art is, at Diehl Gallery, a resounding ‘yes’. Come, join us, and celebrate the holidays with beautiful art. Give in to your sense of wonder and joy. Have a look at the works on the following pages and know that beauty in art is alive.