29 June 2011

how we SEE


a collection of photographs, images, paintings, screen-shots- what do they mean?

Do we take each image in its own right?
Link it to one-we prefer? or disdain?

How do we SEE them?
In context, out of context?

Do we see ART?
Do we see the Painting as ART more so than the Photograph? the movie still?

If we know
where or
who or
what-does it make us SEE differently?

How do we see the body in a painting? In a photograph? On the screen?
Are we forced to go beyond the surface to comment of say-the beautiful light, the brushwork, the fame or failure of the artist?  Do we linger over the great works on canvas as we do over a great photograph?
I wonder.  Say why you like the picture-  here at Red Mug, Blue Linen.

The Bathers, Henry Scott Tuke,1888
Henry Scott Tuke, 1897
The Companion, Henry Scott Tuke
The Bathers Resting , Paul Cezanne
various torsos
The Lake Scene from Room with a View
The Bathers, Seurat
Scene from YSL film shot by Bruce Weber
The Bathers, John Singer Sargent
The Bathers, Woodstock 1969
The Bathers, Paul Cezanne

consider the topic here at Red Mug, Blue Linen.


  1. I see "joy"... heading over to Red Mug Blue Linen.

  2. I see them both as art, although in the photo, there is something real, something more shocking than the paintings. the paintings leave more to the imagination. Great post and collection of bathers.

  3. Interesting question. I also see both photo and painting as equal in art although one has a much longer history and somehow feels different to look at. Photos do seem much more documentary at times. Wonderful collection of bathers! Great post!

  4. Barbara, yes! and such, I think a wonderful collection of art.

  5. Patricia, I understand your thinking-it does however I think we are asked more of a photograph than a painting. We are comfortable with any of the "painted" Bathers-I know you are- and we recognize them easily as an artist in your own right. I see the Room with a View still immediately as one of my most favorite movies-and one of the most wonderful scenes of many in the movie. Paintings conceal while Photographs reveal. It is an interesting conundrum. pgt

  6. Kristin- I think you hit it with the idea of history coloring how we see Art. The photograph is for me an increasing preference for its revealing the human conditions.

  7. A most interesting post that raises a question that is ages old. Not a lot of people know that another artist was commissioned to paint drapes over the nude bodies of Michelangelo's Last Judgement.

  8. What's not to like about the beauty of the male form? And with my home state of New York giving it's gay citizens the ability to marry, I see joy.

  9. Mark, It is isn't it? And still no real answers.It is all in the mind's eye of the viewer. I am glad you offered here-as an artist I value your thoughts.

  10. Daniel- Bravo! and there is a liberation, a cleansing a freedom to all the images. It is a joyous time for celebration in that decision to be sure. pgt

  11. Oh....a bit off topic, but I adore your new banner.

  12. The intimacy of the photographs pulls me in. By training and preference, my soul goes deeper into the light of the paintings. Great question--it's going to take me a while to process. Mary

  13. I accept photography as any other art, but I feel a "still" drawn from cinema[tography] to be a difficult, not to say 'stillborn' hybrid, even though the power of cinema to suggest a still, in memory, is as inherent as the capacity of photography or painting to suggest movement. I feel painting to leave no more to the imagination than any other art, except by intention, as the same may occur in any other art; but I find the evaluation of paintings through photographs of paintings to be an awkward if conventional undertaking. I feel the capacity of painting to shock to be second to none. The sensation of immediacy attributable to photographs rests upon an exertion of "the imagination," not of authenticating documentation, because it engages an act of transposition in the viewer's mind, of something drawn from that place. It is incongruous if customary, for example, to say, "That's a fork," when looking at a photograph of a fork, and say "That's a painting of a fork" when looking at a painting. So from this point of view the question of how we see is that question, more than the question of distinctions in what we are looking at; and it may well be that the more suggestively authentic something seems to us to be, the less we have seen what we are watching.

    Thank you for so substantially opening up a consideration I was exploring elsewhere.

  14. Daniel, thank you.

    Jones-I do think it is worth considering. Do return with your additional thoughts. We do connect personally to any image- I should say I do. There are association I immediately make with many of these that the titles or artists drive-rather than the piece alone. Another pondering is are Words necessary? Do they prejudice us? pgt

  15. Laurent. The questions exist on so many levels-everyone will see something differently. Am I simply comparing painting to photograph? is photography Art? do we perceive the body differently in one vs. the other? paintings on a computer, in a book leave much to be desired over standing and seeing the brushwork, canvas-etc. but since that is what I have to "work with" on this page- a painting of a body-say-can present that body in any way the artist chooses. We are at his mercy in fact- while the photographer presents the same body with its absolute truth-unless of course now it is mercilessly photoshopped! Does the undiluted weigh more than the nuanced? Again, as I mentioned in many of my responses-& to you personally-having a vocabulary for art is essential to even venturing an opinion otherwise we get I like it-hate it-which is just prejudice & a loss to the observer of... pgt

  16. I look at both paintings and fine art photography as equals in terms of equality of art. The difference is in the individual work.

    Gaye most of your images show a sense of unabashed familiarity, joy, fun! The human body I always admire!

    The privilege of viewing a work of art in person does take precedence because you can ponder and "enter" the piece.

    Art by Karena

  17. I would not be able to understand a distinction between the undiluted and the nuanced, if it were linked to the implements of the art. I trust you are not suggesting this; and I trust you are not suggesting that while we are at the mercy of a painter (heaven knows), the photographer is at the mercy of his tools. I trust you are not suggesting this, either, judging by your appreciations of photographs. I think it's necessary to investigate the technical sources of any distinctions, to test whether they even exist except in the materials, per se, and lay aside any sense that they may be qualitative. Otherwise we tend to ask, what is sculpture, bronze or wood?

    Certainly regarding the body, the several media all more or less infinitely possess the capacity for nuance. I observe that we are not, however, discussing a hypothetical 'absolute truth' of the body in this entry, so much as representations of sentiment toward the body - which, again, the media possess the means of articulating in relative parity of nuance or its absence, Rembrandt Meets Eakins. In that way, "undiluted," "shocking," and the like really could belong to a discussion of the sublime and the beautiful without, as you say, resting on the substances employed in the art.

  18. Bathing is one of summer's great pleasures and should always be done in the nude. We do tend to remove ourselves from nature. Have a lovely weekend.



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