The Critic

IAN ADRIAN NAL

My favorite childhood movie is "History of the World Part 1" by Mel Brooks and it is filled with cheeky and slapstick humor. The opening scene was narrated by Orson Welles and his distinguished voice lent gravitas to a silly scenario. A caveman painted an animal on a cave wall with his cohorts looking on in awe. Shortly thereafter, another caveman appeared and took in the painting. His reaction was to urinate over it. The narrator continues with the following adage - "Of course, with the birth of the artist, came the inevitable afterbirth, the critic."

Sea Turtle - Art of Everyone

Sea Turtle - Art of Everyone

This leads me back to the age old question of subjectivity versus objectivity in art and what gives a critic the right to criticize. I'm a mathematician, so I tend to be pragmatic about situations in life. With subjectivity and objectivity on either sides of a bell curve, there is a huge gray area in between. Based on our individual life experiences, we will tend to fall on either side of the median and look at art from slightly different to extreme perspectives. 

Warm Lineage - Brad Noble

Warm Lineage - Brad Noble

I would like to offer some perspective about the role of the critic and how we view art from artist Brad Noble.

 IAN: What do you think of subjectivity in art?

 BRAD: Subjectivity is what gives artists the freedom to express how they feel, take leaps and trust the subtle impulses that might otherwise be undefined.

 IAN: Have critics affected your work? Early career versus now?

BRAD: I’m sure critics have prevented others from experiencing my work unbiased, but I think it is better than being ignored completely.

IAN: Do you think it is fair for critics to judge your work, which comes from your personal life experiences? How much of your life can they appropriate in order to fully understand and judge? 

BRAD: Any work of art, put out in the world, is inviting opinions. It’s expected and for me part of the fun of the creation process to try to anticipate the various POV thrown at a piece. You can tell a lot about a person by what they notice in a piece of art, be it a gut reaction or an educated deduction, It comes from them guessing my motivations, and usually they are wrong. 

IAN: Do you think your work is judged on a technical or emotional level? 

BRAD: I think my work is looked at as being a technical mixture of emotional ambiguity, I try to remain in the middle so the viewer can project their feelings...

IAN: Do you think the art world has become too rarefied for the average person to participate?

BRAD: Instagram and social media has expanded the rarefied aspect and put the artist back in control of their message.  I think we are witnessing a rebirth of expression because we can now bypass the institutions and find our voices without the gate keepers.

IAN: Who criticizes the critics?

BRAD: The public can now weigh in on the discussion, a critic now has instant critics criticizing their criticisms. 


White Unicorn

White Unicorn