Artists, critics, curators, gallerists, auctioneers, and collectors analyze contemporary art to bring forth its relevance and expose its fundamental nature, such as the medium or symbolism. On the other hand, the general public’s reaction to contemporary art provides a socially conscious response that incorporates contemporaneity with time, place, and ethics. Both viewers engage, but which is the “right” way to perceive contemporary art?
Patricia Bellan- Gillen’s “Disorderly Notions,” on display now here at Tinney Contemporary, employs the art of perception itself. The artist relies on all viewers to narrate her works, pulling from their own anecdotal memories. I overheard many art crawlers at the July Art Crawl ask, “what does this mean?” or “why does she use this specific motif?” The analytical essay spelling out the symbolic truths and answering such fundamental questions does not exist in this case.
“Somewhere in the brain” begins the artist’s exhibition write-up, enhancing the elusive and ambiguous scenes. The scale of Patricia Bellan- Gillen’s work demands attention and her use of mixed media compliment the multi-layered function of her work.
I recently read, “Any art that relies on an essay to explain it is not art,” holding true to Patricia’s theory of thriving on the inexplicable, the intuitive, and the enigmatic. The artist calls welcomes such provocation and puzzlement, placing trust in the viewer to simply react. Therefore, it is fitting that “Disorderly Notions” will remain on display for the August Art Crawl, inviting all contemporaries to not ask, but tell.