Blogs, new artwork, and other updates from sculptor Douglas W. Merkey

Thought-provoking blogs, links, new artwork and other updates from sculptor Douglas W. Merkey.

thoughts on the importance of beauty

Is beauty essential in fine art? By "beauty," I mean that aesthetic quality which brings pleasure. So, is it? I think so. Why else would God create trees that produce food AND "are pleasant to the sight" (Genesis 2:9)? Human experience over time has proven that God created us with a capacity to enjoy beauty. It's amazing to me that He also created a world infused with beauty for us to enjoy! 

I've long been troubled by the lack of beauty in modern aesthetics and fine art. From the look of much modern art produced in the last several decades, it seems that beauty is either optional or to be avoided. I've found that the importance of beauty in art is often replaced by the artist's need to express whatever's going on in their inner and/or outer world. A lot of art openings feature artists who explain, "It was the process and experience I went through to create this piece that's important."  

I'm not saying process and experience are unimportant. But come on - are we so filled with ugliness and angst and chaos that we have no beauty to process and experience? It seems to me that the absence of external beauty in artwork reveals as deeply troubling absence of beauty in artist's hearts. That is heartbreaking because, as I've said, God created us with tremendous capacity for beauty and that He longs to meet that need in a variety of legitimate ways - including creating trees that make us feel good when we look at them. 

I love beauty in all its forms. Even if I'm dealing with a dark or difficult topic in my heart and in my art, I still try to create a piece that brings pleasure to my viewers.

I love how this clip from Shawshank Redemption affirms the value and impact of beauty. I love how Andy (the main character) demonstrates courage in not only enjoying beauty, but in sharing beauty with others. I love the effect of beauty on the people imprisoned in their "drab little cage" (that's all of us, to some degree). As an artist in an often chaotic and aesthetically ugly modern art scene, I often feel like Andy. How about you?