Recently while visiting a wonderful gallery in Las Vegas I over heard a lady talking to her friend, she was asking her if she knew how to tell if the art in the gallery was good art. That was a great question! If you ask the art owner or gallery rep that question can you trust him or even understand what he is taking about.
I think that it really up to you to look at the art and decide for yourself if you like it or not, however there are some things that can help you do this.
It has been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, some people see things they love that another person would never like even if was given to them for free. Art is subjective; it is hard to be objective and not let our own likes and dislikes get in the way of judging if the art is good or bad.
However there are some aspects of art that are by and large pleasing to most people.
If the colors are attractive to your eye, if the artist has used complementary colors, most people will be attracted to them.
Interesting compositions that grab the viewers’ attention and keep their eyes moving around the canvas is always a great way to judge it.
Interesting textures, glazing deep tones and scumbling will keep the viewer looking at the painting.
Proportions of objects and figures need to be correct, if they aren’t the viewer will immediately judge the art to be bad.
There needs to have some movement to keep the attention of the viewer.
The way the art is framed is also something that tells the viewer if the artist took time with their art and valued it enough to frame it properly.
It is not too hard to tell if the artist is skillful because your eye will tell you. Just look at other art in the gallery and compare it with the art you are looking at. You would be surprised at how this simple comparison will help you conclude if the art is good or bad.
If you are just starting out looking at art if may be more difficult to do this but most of the time your eye will naturally be drawn to the art you have a preference for. If you love it ask yourself why you do. Is it because of any of the reasons mentioned above?
Also, remember there are hidden meanings in art. The artist maybe is painting a story; his canvas makes you feel a certain emotion and affects you in one way or another. Another artist is making a statement, maybe painting something that is important to him, like an issue that he has dealt with.
Then you will see representational art that is painted simply for its beauty and has no need for hidden meanings.
You may see art that is painted that is an allegory or metaphor. This is art that may have more than one meaning and maybe even more! This can be some of the most interesting art to judge because it opens up a whole new territory of total enjoyment.
As you learn how to judge good and bad art you will end up finding meaning or emotion in pieces that will deepen your appreciation of the art and the artist.
One thing that you need to look for is a painting that is unique. Does it have an unusual twist? Did the artist use some new and inventive techniques? Sometimes these will jump out at you. If it does grab your attention you need to decide if the painting offers new tings that enhances the painting or does it distract from it. I have seen paintings that used so much texture that it was all I looked at. That was distracting!
Personally I love art that speaks for itself, without a brochure or Gallery rep telling me what the artist was trying to say. Sometimes what a gallery rep tells me sounds like a bunch of nonsense, I often wonder if the artist really meant to say that or not.
Good art for me can capture my attention and keep it. It can remind me of earlier times in my life; it can make me cry or laugh!
If a piece of art is easy to understand in my humble opinion it is good art, on the other hand if it makes me think it is good art too.