Aug 27, 2007

Why, cats paint?

For my birthday last year, my dear roommate Clara got me the best calendar ever. It is based on this book:


As a huge cat lover and a medium-sized art lover, I've found it very enjoyable. It's full of pictures of cats painting and fabulous commentary that illustrates the pretentiousness of modern art criticism better than anything I've ever seen. It's adorable/hilarious. An excerpt:

On mornings when the sun shines obliquely through the aquarium, Purrtle will sometimes spend several hours exciting the Red-Cap Orandas by flicking his fluffy white tail at them. The more frustrated he becomes the more he flicks, and the more the fish dart about until simultaneous bursts of high feline and piscine tail energy are engendered. It is these sessions that are the inevitable precursors to Purrtle's painting. The resulting works are full of frenzy and turbulent passion yet laden with implication, every aspect of them exhibiting the undiluted essence of feline frustration. Using bold downward strokes, Purrtle perfectly captures the essence of piscine form. We immediately see the red head of the fish and its white tail flashing behind as it dives down from right to left and there can be no doubt that this is a fulminating moment of pure escape from the watchful eyes (top right). But despite its evident pictorialism, the feline self, depicted by its own white tail is cleverly dispersed throughout the work. As critic Kevin Casey notes, "...Purrtle's solipsism poignantly reflects the feline self encouraging itself through the juxtaposition of waving appendages--each coexisting as reluctant coordinates in glassed-off virtual reality."

It's brilliant, yes?

My thoughts on that one variety of modern art that people look at and say, "my cat could've painted that": It doesn't take a ton of talent to create. I know that. But that doesn't mean there isn't a lot to appreciate. People who believe that just because something is easy to do it can't be admired are missing out on many beautiful things in life. There's actually real life aesthetic value to some of the cat paintings in the calendar. I don't believe Purrtle was thinking solipsistic thoughts whilst dipping his paws in paint and stroking them on a card on the wall, but I would hang up that picture he is painting in my house because it is pleasing to look at to me. And I can even be and have been emotionally moved by these sorts of paintings. Not because I think they say a lot about philosophies or any of that ridiculousness, but all still have an emotion attached to them. You can look at any set of random brush strokes or shapes and see "balance" or "chaos" or "agitation" or "peace" or "movement" or "progress" or "fury" if you just look to appreciate instead of to criticize. I actually really like this sort of art, judge me if you will.

2 comments:

Trev said...

Ha ha ha you nerd. I love you.

Sven said...

Good JOb! :)