I know when I've been upstaged! My readers' comments have captured the audience and I'm bringing up at the rear. So I'm riding on their coat tails in this post. They all have great blogs that I visit regularly and interesting takes on many topics. Layers (Donna Watson) brought up another example of two art terms - abstract and non-objective art - that often get used interchangeably. Perhaps someone would like to take this on for a post because I'm certainly hazy on the difference.
Kelly Marszycki concluded that reading a painting depends on the viewer, their background, life experiences, etc. Beauty comma, had the same take. Kelly saw another version of the Garden of Eden and questioned who or what is locked behind the gate- the viewer or the natural world and why is this the case. Don has a similar take and puts himself behind the gate and is resentful that nature is out there ready to enjoy and he is stuck waiting on someone else to let him out (or is it in).
I think that any artwork that causes a viewer to question or consider is a success. Questions that leave one wondering are good; it often means that the work has engaged you to a point that you will think about it after your no longer have access to the image. There are really no right and wrong answers for the viewer. What a powerful position to have.
A little context will help me explain my content in the Gate painting. This is a photograph of the gate in my painting, but this one is in a closed position. It is one of the entry gates to the Millennium Garden in Birr Castle Demesne . When it is closed you can look through it and ogle the beauty that is beyond it. You can be on the outside looking in, but I was actually on the inside looking out because I had access to the garden through my "secret" door in the wall that connected the property where I stayed with the Millennium Garden. For once gates did not keep me out or in. I felt powerful.
In this particular instance, I photographed the gate when it was opened up and pressed back on top of a hydrangea bush. I was interested in the idea of containment, how compressed the leaves were and how some of them were seeking ways out. It was man against nature and nature was winning. My earliest experiences with a cultivated garden was being barred by a gate. All I could do was stand on the fence and look longingly at what was inside. Gates always bring me back to that time. The leaves are a methaphor for me in that situation.
Through her comments, hwfarber shows a good sense of plants and the uselessness of trying to contain them. They will have their way in the end. If there is any possible way for plants to spread beyond man made boundaries it will be found. That brings us nicely to Kathy who wisely asks "Can nature really be contained?"
I was pleased with Kelly's reference to the suggestion of threat she perceived in the dark background. This made me realize that I had successfully created an emotive response in the viewer.