- Slides: 10
An Introduction to Conceptual Strength and Meaning
Conceptual strength and meaning • This refers to the way in which an artwork or series of artworks ‘speaks’ to an audience. It looks at what the work is about.
Layers of meaning • A work can carry more than one reference or meaning. It can be interpreted on a number of levels.
Australian artist Nike Savvas stands in her installation Atomic: Full of Love, Full of Wonder, 2005, polystyrene, nylon wire, paint, electric fans. The work was installed at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney.
• Savvas suggests that her work is influenced by: – pop art paintings from the 1960 s and 1970 – pointillism and the art of Georges Seurat – the Australian desert landscape – atoms and molecules – the stars and the universe – Aboriginal dot painting – Byzantine churches.
p. 72 Nike Savvas, Atomic: Full of Love, Full of Wonder, 2005. Courtesy of Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Photograph: John Brash.
Georges Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1884– 1886. Oil on canvas, 207. 5 × 308. 1 cm. Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago.
• Ben Quilty also creates artworks that can be considered on a number of levels. Ben Quilty, Torana No. 4, 2003, oil on canvas, 120 × 120 cm, Jan Murphy Gallery.
• For Quilty, the car symbolises youthful rebellion and the freedom that comes with car ownership, particularly for young men. • Quilty’s work is also about the act of painting. Part of its conceptual strength is in exploring expressive paint application.
Summary • Conceptual strength refers to the depth and quality of ideas and concepts conveyed by the work to an audience. • Abstract artworks can also have conceptual strength. They achieve this through an engagement with materials and techniques. • Artworks are often about more than what they initially appear to represent. • The title of an artwork can add to its conceptual strength and meaning.