Artworx Gallery | Contemporary Art & Gifts | Goolwa SA

Artworx Gallery - currently celebrating its 10th anniversary - is a regular award winner and the finest contemporary art gallery on South Australia's Fleurieu Peninsula.

MIKE BARR - Art That Speaks For Itself

I'm an artist and like most artists, I'm an art lover too.

Recently, I bought a painting from a Rotary Show that wasn't painted in a style that I use, but I loved it and bought it. I had never heard of the artist and I didn’t know what the intent of the painting was, but it didn’t matter, I loved the painting and took it home. The painting spoke to me and that is the reason I purchased it. No amount of explanation about an artist, their methods, their intent, their achievements or what story they have behind the painting, will make me love an artwork. I need to love the work for itself. I just want to look at art and take it in without being interrupted by talk or explanations.  Love is beyond explanation.

In the art world, there are lots of words that mean nothing. Many artists statements defy understanding and are beyond the grasp of mere mortals! I have read many such statements that are nothing more than pure comedy.

In addition to artists statements, we are often presented with statements about paintings too that sometimes don’t match what we see - even in our wildest imaginings.

Some paintings of course come with legitimate explanations and we can see what the artist was getting at. However, by the time we have taken it all in, that fleeting moment has long gone where love at first sight was possible.

All kinds of paintings can have a voice and sometimes it is a voice that only a few will hear – art is not for everyone and some paintings are just for one person.

 Abstract contemporary art for instance can be wonderful to look at and enjoyable in its own right. Of course, the colours and design might just go with someone’s décor too and the voice of the painting is strong. A work may be of a more traditional kind and may pull the heart-strings of a viewer who has a special relationship with the place that has been painted. Sometimes, these heart pulls cannot be denied and a painting is sold.

The wonder of a painting’s voice, is that it can say things to a viewer that the artist had no vision of when they painted it. Paintings can produce joy, comfort and a place of refuge. I know this to be true.

Several years ago, I just happened to be in a community gallery where a few pieces of my work where showing. One had just sold before I arrived and the interstate buyers were pleased to meet me. The painting was of a young girl walking down a beach path toward the sea. The couple told me that they had recently lost a young daughter and she frequented such a beach path – the painting was for them. How could I have possibly known the voice this painting had for that couple.  Such is the deep privilege of being an artist and its rewards are without price.

Paint with a voice.

Mike Barr

 'Calling in Sick' - a lot of us dream about such a brazen escape and some of us actually do it!



Liz and John Francis

12 Hays Street
Goolwa, South Australia

Phone: (08) 8555 0949


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