Okay, the contest is over, and it is time to announce the winner of the Analyze “The Perfect Braid” Contest.
First, I will acknowledge the universal art world snobbery that poo-poo’s the idea of an artist ever having to explain him or herself. In my case, it is not so much that I do not think I should have to explain what a drawing or a painting means, but rather that I think it is so obvious that I need not. Part of me says, if you don’t get it, then work on it until you do. It’s good for you. Keeps you from getting Alzheimers.
The drawing “The Perfect Braid”, is a good example of what I thought was obvious intent. I provided clues and it reads like a book from the top down. I think a number of the responses I got were very close, and some were not so close, but very interesting, and I even wished I had thought of a few of them!!!!!
Our viewer ‘grfxho’ was the first to make some interesting comments. However, I do not intend the braid to be part of the girl’s escape. I wondered how much her analysis may have influenced others because several seemed to agree with her. Then I thought Theresa came closer with this statement “I don’t think that the cross has anything to do with religion but rather that the free spirit of the little girl was martyred for the sake of the perfect child.” Well put and spot on, but I wanted more than that. Then came Barbara’s response. I really liked her statement, “The operating theme seems to be perfection (evidenced by the spacing of subject matter, every hair in place, starched little dress, and tightly weaved braid)…” I’ll even accept the remainder of the sentence “…as well as mother, father and religion held over her.” Barbara went on to speculate about a few other clues.
Indeed the theme is perfection (could the composition be more perfectly centered with the cross at the top/start?), but more specifically it is about the pressure to be perfect that we place on our children in this day and age (the parents in the pictures). We have gone from a society where children were second class citizens behind their parents, to being placed on a pedestal front and center stage. We expect them to succeed in school requiring hours of daily homework. They need to know what college they will go to and what they will major in while they are still in high school. They must be socially and politically correct, with impeccable manners and communication skills (the overly groomed girl). If they don’t have this set of qualifications, they will fall behind the pack and then as parents we have failed and are ashamed. As a result of this pressure and constantly daily grind of work children are robbed of a piece of their childhood (the vacant stare). What will they grow up to be (the deranged doll) and what will their future hold (the forebodingly empty house)? The braid in the drawing is not her escape, but rather symbolizes the burden she must carry to be perfect. I worry about the upcoming generation of which my son is a part, and I created a drawing to express it. I think this is an important part of an artist’s responsiblity in describing the world we live in.
No one quite explained the drawing this succinctly. I learned a lesson from this since I thought it was clear. Do I care? No. I am glad it created speculation. I don’t think any of you thought much about it until I asked you to. I hope it makes you more thoughtful of symbolic artwork in the future. At any rate, I have to say, of the handful of entries, Barbara came the closest in the end, and she will be the winner of the little miniature painting shown below. Thanks to all of you who contributed your very interesting opinions.