Olive said this should be a blog entry, so thus it is:If I were in elementary school with Kandinsky, I would not like him.
I recently visited the Art Institute of Chicago. In particular, I spent half an hour with the Kandinskys, as Kandinsky happens to be one of my favorite artists. However, I also noticed a couple things which lead me to believe that had I known Kandinsky as a child, I would have sneered at his artistic talents.
First of all, he doesn’t cover the entire canvas. It actually looked like in his earlier paintings he did, so maybe as a child he would have done so; I like to cover the entire surface of my art (if you can call anything I have done art; certainly I have never used a canvas), with no naked dead space, and no little places where the base material showed through. Kandinsky didn’t leave a whole lot of space uncovered, just little tiny spots here and there between lines or shapes and the space around them. But still, it’s enough that I can tell close up.
Secondly, he didn’t make lines with a solid edge. When I use a paintbrush, I like my brushstroke to have a good firm edge—I hate that part at the end of the brushstroke where you run out of paint and it streaks into eventual nothingness. Such a stroke equals sloppiness in my mind. But Kandinsky is full of brushstrokes like that, and it doesn’t bother me now, but it would have done so years ago. Maybe I am not very artistic in that sense.
Third, well… actually, there is no third. When I was little I drew concrete images that were outlined in black. That sounds remarkably like a coloring book, come to think of it. I wonder if my childhood expectations would be different if I had not used such coloring books; in other words, I wonder if we are stunting our children by giving them such “artwork” to color. I would tend to say yes, except that I ended up liking Kandinsky anyway, so maybe it has more to do with individual personalities than with societal standards.
Conclusion: I love Kandinsky, even if I wouldn’t have liked him when we were both kids. And someday I would like to see this piece. Wow.