|Winter Lambing, 36X48, oil on canvas, by Carol L. Douglas|
It’s that season when artists gather up their slides—by which I mean the JPGs on their desktops—and send them off to be juried. Technology has advanced so that we now get the same kind of results with a point-and-shoot camera that we used to rely on professional photographers to achieve.
That can have its downside. Last week, I wrote about decentralization of art images on the internet. Reader Victoria B. responded:
“The image of the spoon and the Chinese screen taking up the same amount of screen real estate reminded me of art history classes I took where the Mona Lisa slide was the same size as a room-sized Rubens. What a revelation to go the Louvre and see exactly how small and subtle Mona really is. I also remember when the Finger Lakes show was judged on the actual work, not on slides. Now the judging is on digital files submitted electronically, so the 5” x 5” small work and the 5’ x 5’ large work will be viewed at the same size on a monitor.
“Equality is not always best when judging art work. I think the size of the painting (or sculpture) is part of the artist’s intent that we miss."
|Happy New Year, 6X8, by Carol L. Douglas. This is very small, but the distortion of the internet renders it the same size as the monumental painting above.|
Victoria is talking about presence, and it’s a huge part of our subjective response to art. Paintings, drawings and prints stubbornly resist being scaled up or down; their fundamental character is tied to the size at which they were created.