Appreciating Accomplished Art

I’m going to put this out there so no one has to feel like they are the odd one out. The art piece I am posting today by German artist Angelika Arendt is not something I find particularly beautiful. There you go … I said it. So if you like the piece, great. If you don’t really care for it, just read on. Let’s talk about why we might want to take a closer look at work we may not personally find aesthetically pleasing.

angelika_arendt_ goldgruen_2012

We don’t have to find something beautiful or visually pleasing to appreciate, learn something from, or be drawn to it. I’m drawn to this piece even though I would not consider having it adorn a shelf in my home. Being a texture junkie, I can’t help but be drawn to the visual and tactile nature of this sculpture. The piece is kind of nuts. Not in any derogatory way … I just imagine the painstaking hours it took to apply and pattern a piece like this. It’s really rather amazing  on that point alone. But why share a piece if I don’t find it aesthetically pleasing?

Well, of course there is the “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” thing. I can’t just post what I like. But I think the real point is that accomplished work isn’t always going to be found beautiful. It is, however, always something that makes a good majority of people stop and contemplate it. Don’t tell me you don’t keep looking back at this undulation of color and dots. It’s kind of unnerving how visually magnetic it is. And for us as artists, knowing what kind of work went into this, we may be in awe or at least garner some serious respect for the effort involved.

So what makes this piece accomplished? It’s the fact that it does draw your attention. Its not the busy nature of the texture or color either … anyone can slap a lot of tiny bits onto a form–but there is the choice of colors mixed across the surface. We recognize that the colors do belong together, that there was thought that went behind the choices. In a less accomplished work where conscious decisions aren’t made about color and placement, that lack of planning is usually pretty obvious. What’s hard is making something look random and even chaotic but still whole and ‘right’.

Bottom line here … a variety of shapes, colors, patterns and applications can be used to create an accomplished piece of art. It just needs some intelligence and intention behind it. Even with that, you don’t have to like it but it is worthwhile to see and appreciate it.



  1. My eyes are drawn to it again and again. At first glance the blue and green pattern grabbed my attention. But as I studied the piece more, I found that the form seemed deformed and the color and shape did not flow in my opinion. I can appreciate her work because Wow, how time consuming and her attention to detail. She is like an artist that breaks down the walls of the normal square box. I think she accomplished a piece in that, her work grabs the attention of a person and they look/study it for a time.

  2. I’d be curious to know the specifics of just why you do not like this piece, not to dis it, but as informed discussion. For example, her color choices do not appeal to me. I like her use of a variety of textures, but the overall shape reminds me of a bashed-in head, which is disturbing. I do think it is a successful piece of art, that engages the observer.

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