Thursday, April 10, 2008

Words don't cut it

NZ Trio violinist Justine Cormack says the best way to listen to music is with an open mind and body so you can experience it without judgment and be taken to places that you may not expect.

Oh, dear. Did she really say that? Perhaps she just needs to play and not pronounce. An open mind I can understand, but what the heck is an open body? And do I want to be taken to places I don’t expect when I listening to music? (Only if no one is looking, perhaps.)

Today, I had a bit of a discussion with the art gallery owner who runs the gallery next door to where I work. We often seem to wind up with a bit of verbal fencing, but she was a bit peeved because a customer had obviously come in, seen a Ewan McDougall painting and claimed that her grandchild could do just as well. ‘Ah, but could she get that much money for it?’ asked the gallery owner.

A fair enough question on one hand, but perhaps not really the point. I don’t think much of McDougall’s paintings at all. I suspect he churns them out at the drop of a hat because he can, and because people will pay for them. He’s the flavour of the month and probably needs to add to his old age pension while he’s still able.

Personally if I see another one of his badly drawn stick figures with their garish colours and the invariable penis, I think I’ll put my foot through it. The fact that people buy his stuff says nothing about the quality of his paintings. Especially if they’re buying his stuff as an investment.

The gallery owner and I sparred a little about What is Art? She threw out something about it being what one person likes and another doesn’t, but I think she was being sarcastic at that point. It was hard to tell as she muttered a lot – probably in reaction to having her McDougal insulted! Or else it was all just word games.

Rather like the statement on music that Cormack came out with.

For me there is far too much spoken about music that’s just waffle, just as there is about art. I listen to music; I look at art. I use my critical faculties in both cases, and I allow my emotions free rein. But beyond saying I like or don’t much like some music and some art, I try to refrain from describing either. Words just don’t cut it really.
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