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Perspective

Ellsworth Kelly (American, b. 1923) | Blue Panel, 1977 | 1986.419.1

Ellsworth Kelly (American, b. 1923). Blue Panel, 1977. Oil on canvas; 94 1/2 x 89 in. (239.4 x 226.1 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Anonymous Gift, 1986 (1986.419.1)

How many times has the word "perspective" appeared when referring to one's impression of, well, any artwork or art gallery? "Perspective" is like the bacon of art vocabulary; you sprinkle it over any conversation and it can spark a delicious array of reactions. In my experience, abstract art produces the most varied responses.

Henri Matisse, the great colorist and child of the modern era, was famous for using color to convey emotion. While his early pieces spurred the concept of Fauvism—a style of art in which perspective is warped in an almost atavistic way so that it looks like the work of a child—his later pieces utilized color palettes, lighting, and framing to convey his feelings on a view or landscape. Abstract artists in the mid-twentieth century borrowed this idea of utilizing color to convey emotion. One particularly noteworthy artist in this group was Ellsworth Kelly.

When viewing a piece by Kelly, one may be hard-pressed to distinguish what the experience of creating the work really meant to him. It's easy to stare blankly at a wall of blue paint, criticize its seemingly inane simplicity, and proudly proclaim that this piece had no effect on you. However, I would first like to make the assertion that that, in itself, is a reaction. I would then say that your indifference to the piece is something worth analyzing; it can help you understand your taste as a viewer and perhaps better understand yourself as an individual. Perspective, of course, is an amazing thing in that it is completely and utterly unique to you. It is something that, in my humble opinion, is worth taking the time to try to understand.

Oh, and on that note I would like to pose this question:

Is there a piece of art at the Met that you think you ought to take the time to reevaluate?

We welcome your response to this question below.



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