View Full Version : Speak Your Truth (me and Vincent Van Gogh)

28th August 2013, 19:39
Years ago I attended a much heralded exhibition of Impressionist Art at a small regional public art gallery. The gallery has a good record of solid shows but this Impressionist exhibit was a very big deal for them, probably the most publicized exhibit they had ever hosted. There were works by Renoir, Van Gogh and other impressionists and I drove to the city with artist friends so we could experience paintings by these famous artists.

The hype for this exhibit was huge. There were glossy posters, glossy expensive brochures and giftware to commemorate the show and a high price ticket to get in. There was a great deal of pomp and circumstance and when we walked into the galleries where the Impressionist pieces were hung there was a hush of worshipful murmuring from the gallery goers. We were just as excited as everyone else! We were in a state of high anticipation.

We went to the Van Gogh piece and I was hit with a wave a disappointment. I have spent years in the studio with a paintbrush in my hand and Van Gogh is one of my very top favorite artists, ever. I studied his paintings obsessively when I was an art student and I love his work.

This particular Van Gogh was crappy.

I had never seen that particular Van Gogh in any of the art history books before. Obviously, it was not one of his better works. I stood there in front of it, my two artist friends on either side of me and a careful, factually based critique started pouring out of me. I have a loud voice and my speech was not hushed and worshipful in front of this painting. I just started factually listing the significant number of flaws and weaknesses in the painting. I was "in the zone", very focused. I suppose my passion was triggered because the reality of what was in front of me clashed so badly with what I had expected from the show.

I was excited, I was in the zone. It was not a cold, left brained, dry type of critique. It was a right brained, zoned in, passionate (and yet based in fact) type of critique.

For those who are unfamiliar with my terminology, a critique is when a group of people give formal feedback about a work of art. It is a type of ritual that is very common and prevalent in the art world.

The security guard in the room quickly came over about 2 minutes into my spontaneous critique and he shut me down immediately. He said I had to stop because my hand gestures were threatening the painting but actually my hands were nowhere near the painting and I was holding nothing in my hands.

I was a lot younger back then and quite afraid of authority figures and not trusting my own truth and I immediately shut up and left the room. I sat in the next room on a bench quietly talking to my friends and as if to punctuate his authority the security guard left the van Gogh and came over to me as I sat quietly on the bench in the next room and sternly repeated what he said earlier. I didn't say anything to him because sometimes you can't communicate with certain people who are drunk on their own small power that is given to them by virtue of a uniform.

But there is no shadow of a doubt in my mind that he felt threatened by the energy and passion of truth in what I said and that is why he had to crush it immediately.

I don't even know why I am writing this today.

All I know is that today I would stand up for myself.
Today I would speak truth to power.

william r sanford72
28th August 2013, 19:59
seems your learning something from it to this day and posting it could help someone else..now and on down the line.thanks for sharing.