Disturbing News

Into the Continuum, photograph

A painting without something disturbing in it – what’s that?

– George Braque

Another bold statement that might just contain a grain of truth in it.

Does all (or most) good, interesting art have at least some element in it that could be considered “disturbing”? If there is nothing that throws us off just a bit, is the art reduced to something that is just decorative? What role “decorative” art plays is a topic for another post…

I use the word disturbing in a fairly general sense – to unsettle, to interrupt, to interfere with the order of something. When I experience this in a work of art it causes me to stop and reconsider, to reflect on something in a new way. My status quo has been disturbed. What results from that experience can be good or bad, but without something in the work that triggers it, chances are we won’t get much from seeing the work.

I always get a small thrill when I create an image that I know will disturb my viewers (bearing in mind the above definition). I don’t want to make you feel bad, I want to make you feel…

3 responses to “Disturbing News

  1. Interesting thoughts, Bob. I’ve always thought more or less the same thing, generally in terms of “provoking.” In my opinion, good art is a catalyst – it causes the viewer to think about notions they wouldn’t typically explore on their own.

    Though there has been plenty of art over the ages that exhibits the characteristic you’re talking about, the idea of deliberately incorporating “disturbances” in art was very much a Modernist feature (not surprisingly, Braque was a Modernist), borne of the movement’s deliberate questioning of earlier more idealized aesthetic and thematic notions.

    The bottom line for me is that worthy art “does work” to send the viewer down a pathway to experience new ideas and feelings, however brief the trip may be.

  2. My interpretation is somewhat the same. I’ve always said good art should cause an emotional reaction in the viewer. That reaction can be good or bad, but has to go beyond just being a pretty picture.

    You have certainly had that effect on me with this image. It is simply amazing. I can not figure out how you achieved it, but that’s secondary to the reaction of viewing the image.

  3. Your title “Disturbing News” definitely catches the eye… And so does the image. But I don’t feel disturbed by it. More like drawn deeply into a dreamlike world. Actually, I like the title “Into the Continuum.” Feels like you are showing us the continuum of life and death…

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