The Secret Way to Enjoy Art
Philip Koch, Uncharted II, oil on panel, 18 x 24", 2014, at
Art Essex Gallery, CT
Everyone has had the experience of waking from sleep feeling we've returned from an incredible nocturnal adventure. We've been dreaming.
I want to do paintings with all the vividness of a powerful dream. Art is an invitation to feeling something beyond our day to day concerns. While it sets us to thinking, it's not primarily about ideas. Rather it's a sensation, an experience to be had and savored.
I wish people would approach art the way they approach food. Few people ask what their food means or ponder whether they "understand" their food. Instead they jump in and taste it. If it's good they'll ask for seconds.
That's the way we should go to museums. Taste the work with your eyes. If a piece doesn't appeal to you keep moving until the flavor of a painting's colors slows you down and pulls you in for a closer look.
Of course artists are thoughtful people. They try to produce work that has a lot to say on many levels. But little of that meaning happens until their art first ravishes the viewers' eyes and stirs their hearts.
Philip Koch, Equinox, oil on panel, 30 x 45", 2008, currently in Washington County Museum of Fine Arts' exhibition Mirror of Nature: The Art of Philip Koch