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String Theory and Questions of Art

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Well, along with everyone else on the Icicle Arts Gallery mailing list, I received my invitation to the opening reception for Wenatchee artist Jim Huber’s String Theory: A New Lyrical Vision on display through August 19. The reception will be at the gallery (347 Division St., Leavenworth) on Friday July 27, from 5-7PM. All ages are invited and light refreshments will be served. In reading the invitation I was struck not only by the title of the show (more on that in a bit) but by Jim’s thoughts on his art.

Huber says of his work very much as I have said about my own abstract photos that “Meaning comes from the viewer. I want the viewer to see a lush, colorful composition of tension, energy, harmony and balance. Each viewer should understand the piece through his or her own perceptions and experiences. Non-objective abstract art is like music without words. Paintings, like melodies, can be evocative, bold and full of energy or haunting and full of mystery. I strive to make my work like Mozart's music which is precise and mysterious at the same time.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Thinking about what Jim Huber said about his abstract art and the similarity of thought with my own… not to mention that we both have art titled ‘String Theory’. For Jim ‘String Theory’ is the title to a series of pieces, whereas I have one abstract piece of that same name. I can’t wait to meet Jim and discuss our String Theories and more.

Thinking about what Jim has written about art and my own thoughts on art, I thought of some questions that visitors at the galleries I am involved in have asked over the past few years. It got me to thinking about art and buyers of art. The thing that I noticed is that the same sorts of questions and concerns seem to come up over and over again from many individual art consumers. And, so I thought I’d try to address the these questions as they have come up.

What I have found is that when buying fine art there are few basic questions that buyers ask themselves, but most important of all is of course “Do I like it?” This is true whether the piece is an original, a print, a three dimensional piece, a traditional Photo or digital art. Ultimately, that is the question that carries the most weight, and it is the question that only the viewer can answer.

Often the art buyers can, however, become caught up in a lot of questions that would be truly relevant only to a professional collector hoping to make a fortune in the future selling a piece after storing it away for many years.

Buyers hear a voice in their head saying things like, “How would a professional critic look at this piece?” or they may become influenced by how ‘good’ others may think it is. They may feel they must look at a piece as an investment wondering whether it will rise in value, when really it is to adorn their living space and enjoy.

More relevant questions and concerns for the art buyer looking to find a piece for their own satisfaction center around whether the piece gives one enjoyment or inspires or causes one to dream, imagine, contemplate or wonder. In other words, does it ‘speak to ones soul, spirit or heart?’ Remember this piece is for you.

Sometimes art buyers concern themselves about whether or not a piece is really worth what the artist or gallery is asking. It’s a natural question, one that comes by habit of most people’s daily life. We are all accustomed to looking for the best deal.

But, buying art is somewhat different. What is it after all that one is buying. Yes, it is adornment for the space intended. But, why this piece at this price. What makes it worth it to pay what the artist is asking when it may seem simple to have created or not as time consuming as say building something of a ‘practical’ nature.

It may help to speak to the artist, get the artist background and the story behind the piece of interest. Part of what one is buying is the experience of sharing in the imagination and vision of the artist. Not everyone can do what the artist does. But, many can appreciate the vision as shared and the creativity, innovation and inspiration of the artist.

Fine artists are professionals. There is a lot of unseen, learning, practice and voluminous hours spent perfecting their particular art form that goes into that work of art that has struck a chord in the eye of the buyer.

Once, your new art acquisition is in your position enjoy it fully. Place it where it shows and fits the mood of the place it is to adorn and give it the space it deserves so you will receive the joy and satisfaction that you desire from it. Well, so much for these musings on art. Perhaps more will come of these artful musings after visiting with Jim Huber at Icicle Arts or sometime in the future.

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