A couple of days ago I came across a very interesting post (on the WordPress front page – to see it click here). In it David introduced me to the work of two artists, who together create under the name Guerra de la Paz. An interesting name, which combines their last names into one in a way that makes a statement all on its own.
Even more interesting were the responses to the post. They got me thinking about where viewers perception and artists intentions meet, and the role that a painting’s title plays in that.
I started with the idea that an artist (usually) creates with intention – based on an idea, a concept, a scene, a message they want to share – and the title they give their work is one way of communicating what their intention is.
The responses I read were thoughtful and interesting, but not everyone paid attention to the titles.
I know that each person sees and thinks differently; each person brings their own experiences to looking at art. Not only that – at different times in their lives, changes in ideas and knowledge make people look at work they have seen before in new ways. The same way that when we re-read favorite books when we are older we find ourselves approaching them from the different perspectives.
To me, now, a title is a part of the context of a piece of art work. So the fact that not everyone paid attention to them interested me. Maybe they simply didn’t notice them? Maybe the work and the title did not seem to fit together? As an artist, is there something I should learn from this? At some point, at some stage, does viewer perception trump artists intention?
And if so, does it matter?