The Clark is currently featuring the exhibition Like Breath on Glass; a collection of “soft” impressionist paintings primarily by Inness and Whistler. The aim of their work was to paint the suggestion of an object, not the representation of it.
Rarely did these men paint more than one or two aspects in detail. By so doing they supplied a starting point for viewers, from which memories and imagination could wander through the rest of it. It’s a challenge for me as an artist to conclude what I want to spell out, and what I want to leave open for imagination.
More fascinating than the works themselves are the times in which they were created. Amidst booming industry at the turn of he 20th century, these artists wanted to declare that the times still held soft and subtle beauties. It is interesting to see how the cubists, which followed during the World Wars, instead chose sharp edges and bold outlines to communicate their times.
What makes one artist choose to be the counter messenger against the times in which we live while the next becomes proud herald of it?