As published in the April 2016 issue of The Artist’s Magazine, a few readers shared their grievances with our coverage of abstract artist Hildy Maze (“In Tune With Time,” January/February 2016) through letters to the editor. We’ve since received so many letters in response to and in favor of featuring nonobjective art that we’ve decided to shares those letters below. From editor Maureen Bloomfield, “We thank our readers for expressing interest in learning about all types of art, for taking the time to affirm the value of diversity, the importance of free speech, and the freedom of the artist to pursue his/her own truth.”
“At the age of 72, I suppose I should be lining up with letter writers Carter and Franklin in their disdain for non-objective art. On the contrary, I was thrilled to see the likes of Hildy Maze’s work featured in your magazine. Keep on finding artists as imaginative as her.
To Carter and Franklin, I would remind them of something one of your recent articles said; we should expose ourselves to lots of art, even art we don’t like. Looking only at what we like just reinforces our existing judgements and offers no new knowledge. Examining art we don’t like can open us to question WHY we dislike it. Which can lead us to better realize why we do art the way we do, as well as opening up new possibilities to expand our own work.
To me, classical training means acquiring a basic understanding of the media and methods available to an artist. But it certainly shouldn’t limit the artist to only depicting the world in an ‘objective’ manner. Both Edward Hopper and Richard Diebenkorn had fine training, but used their training to produce very different renderings of the world.”
“I generally do not write letters to the editor but I have become increasingly annoyed by letters from people who feel they can dictate what is and isn’t art. Art is definitely in the eye of the beholder. I may or may not enjoy some pieces that are presented as art but I respect the right of others to appreciate it or not. Artists through the ages have been criticized and later become respected icons. Think Van Gogh for a start. There are no real rules in art and nor should there be, otherwise it would become stagnant and never evolve. So long as this magazine continues to present a varied and balanced selection of art and artists I will continue to read and enjoy it. Congratulations on producing something that broadens our knowledge and education.”
“I NEVER write letters to the editor but I feel compelled to do so after reading the letters in the April 2016 issue of the magazine regarding the articles on Hildy Maze and Sam Goodsell’s work in the Jan/Feb issue. The writers of the letters neglect to see the vast area of artwork that we currently enjoy. While I don’t care for some forms of artwork, I have learned to always look carefully at all work as there is something that you can see or learn about within the work. It all brings more information and appreciation to the table.
Articles about artists like Maze and Goodsell are what make me subscribe to your magazine. If all the articles were about artists whom Mike Carter and G Franklin approved of, I might find your magazine to be narrowly focused and quite boring. Please keep up the good work and keep providing the wonderful variety of articles coming.”
“I read with sadness the two letters you published in the April issue on Hildy Maze’s art. It is a shame that some artists try to suppress art that they do not like and request that you only publish certain types art (i.e. representational) that they do like. Don’t do it!
By extension, are Mike Carter and G. Franklin saying that all artists who do non-objective work are also fools? It would be interesting to find out if they have had rejected in juried shows. And would that rejection tell them that they are not artists?
I love the magazine because you cover all types of art with a very even hand. I do semi-abstract/illustration art; mostly in watercolors. I gain a lot of inspiration from what others are doing in various media and subjects. For example, Ms. Maze’s work reminded me of my art teacher’s dictum to be mindful of large shapes in all of my work.”
“I had a very strong reaction to Mr Carter’s letter. Perhaps, my somewhat visceral reaction is because there is so much intolerance for varying points of view in the world right now on a surprising number of topics. You don’t have to like it, but look at it anyway. What can you learn? I would point both Mr. Carter and G Franklin to Sheldon Tapley’s article in the March issue from which I quote, “Spend more time looking at the difficult work than at the art that immediately pleases you.” To place a pejorative on someone because they see beauty or intrigue in something you do not is unfair, open minds please, at least in art if no where else.
With kindest regards for a well done magazine that I look forward to reading, even when I don’t like the art portrayed.”