PEN&INK POSSIBILITIES:Children's art, adult's art – appreciate them both

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By Kirsten Laskey

Whenever my oldest nephew creates a drawing, I immediately love it and praise the creation to the hilt. The fact that he needs to tell me what all the wild, blue crayon scribbles depict is a minor detail. The point is that a 4-year-old drew it to give to his mother, which is all that really matters. There is no composition, no reason exercised; it’s just in good fun.

This seems to be a common attitude; many adults rush their children’s or young relatives’ pictures to the center of the fridge or decorate their offices with framed young people’s artwork.

We seem so accepting and open to anything a child creates but then our standards escalate when we look at an adult’s art. It appears once you grow up it is no longer enough to scribble on a piece of paper; people expect something else.

The recent exhibit at the Art Center at Fuller Lodge proves people do have higher standards for adults’ art.

The juror of the exhibit, titled “Member’s Best,” selected three pieces to earn the first through third place awards. “Coffee Beans” by Susannah Smith earned first place, “AST-1” by Frank Morbillo, won second place and “Diagram Series; Next” by P. Ryan Krauser, received third place.

The juror, Geraldine Fiskus, explained her main criteria for evaluating the art was how the artists challenged themselves and created something different from the conventional.

If you look at the pieces, she is correct in awarding them first through third place based on the criteria. Each one is different and the artists effectively did put their talents to the test in creating the work.

But the same can be said with all the work mounted on the walls or resting on pedestals. Why can’t we place all art, much like we do with children’s creations, on the same level of excellence?

It is certainly not a toxic thing to rate one creation over another. Art Center coordinator Nancy Coombs pointed out that winning awards is good for artists; it serves as a gold star on their resumes for future shows.

But the situation gets murky because everyone has their own idea of beauty. Perhaps that is why is the Art Center has democratically allowed the public to vote on their favorite pieces in the current exhibit.

Walking through the exhibit, it seems difficult to cast a vote. Art Center members really did pull out their best stuff; everything from a photograph of abbey ruins to watercolors of desert mesas is portrayed.

How can one choose which one is superior? Why not choose all of them?

Fiskus said when making her votes, she viewed the pieces on her computer screen. When she saw all the work, face-to-face, at the Art Center, she said she was impressed and was happy with the results of the show.

We should all feel this way when looking at art. It is all deserving of that coveted center spot on the fridge.