Paradox Between Photography And Brush Painting

Opus One Napa Valley.jpg

Once a psychologist friend told me - everyone’s social behavior has patterns. You find similarities in the type of people you fall in love with, the mistakes you make, the social circle you get into...

I wonder whether this also applies to art appreciation.

Over the time, I figured out my pattern in art, if there is one, mostly fall in two categories: the Chinese brush painting, and photography. Although, there is little similarity between the two.

Chinese brush painting is abstract, simple, often reveals beauty from subtlety.

Photography, however, is concrete, straightforward, could be much more dramatic and realistic.

Chinese brush painting has evolved over a history of thousands of years, and ties strongly with the Taoism philosophy that emphasizes the unity of human being and nature.

Photography, on the other hand, is a young art genre that many use to document social reality and concept.

I can’t really tell I favor one over the other.

We all have distinct taste - not even two art collectors are completely the same. This dictates what types of art we “click” with. More or less, it reflects who you are, although it might change over time. Many artists evolve their styles over time - the style also more or less, reflects the artists’ experience, philosophy and state of mind at a period of time. It will be interesting to study how many people fall in love with very different types of art - it’s hard for me to imagine someone who is crazy about heavy metal, meanwhile loves classic symphony. What kind of conflict does this reveal? Someone like me who enjoys both traditional elegance in the brush works, in the meantime favors the modern colorful drama in photography.

At least I do find commonality of the works I like, no matter it’s brush painting or photography. The mood, the feel, the unique philosophy that the artist adopts to connect with his/her audience, the universe or himself/herself, and the resulting beauty and poetry from simplicity. There was one time a strong emphasis of “big enjoyment” in the Chinese brush painting history, where the artists could forget about their existence while enjoying the poetic painting. I believe nowadays this also applies to many photographers, no matter in a sense of zen or passion.

There is a lot to learn about art, and oneself. I believe to many artists, art creation is a process of self exploration. So is art appreciation to art lovers. It takes time, to build our self awareness of our own psychological conflicts, behavioral patterns, mental purposes and many more. All these, I believe, are meaningful.