Although this idea did not coalesce into a single concise topic, I do have a few thoughts about it.
Art must be seen.
The immediate answer is “No” since art must be seen. The artist is trying to communicate and make a connection. And with no viewer there is no conversation. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and with no eye, there is no Behold! moment.
But on the other hand, people do paint and create with no intention of showing it. They make art for themselves. And are rewarded for it (or they would not keep doing it). Art may reveal something about yourself, the artist. Creativity is an end on itself and can be relaxing and satisfying. Whether there is some insight or just the warm glow of accomplishment, art has succeeded even in the case of non-exhibited works.
Ultimately an artist must create for himself and not for reward or adulation while still sharing the art work if they wish (the world needs more art and beauty). But a sale still is nice!
Does real art only exist in museums and galleries?
These are the gate keepers – the establishment arbiters of what is good enough. Galleries select stuff they think they can sell. Museums and exhibitions want art that will bring people in and cause them to talk and return.
Most artists do not have this outlet. It is difficult to get into these venues and there is a lot of competition.
Even month long shows where an artist is competing to get a single piece shown is a lottery-like effort. A judge or panel of jury members make the selections often with no well-defined criteria (other than fitting the theme of the show). And there is not feedback later about why something did or did not get in. (Now I don’t really want to create art anyway to fit into what I think a judge wants or create what I do not like. It is better to have something done that happens to fit or continue to paint authentically in the hopes of catching the jury’s eye).
I have no doubt judging is difficult especially when different kinds of media are competing but as an artist it can be confusing and disappointing with no clear path how to break through the barrier.
Also there often is a bias towards contemporary, challenging, boundary-pushing or statement art. Too bad if you are just painting landscapes.
The Wild World Wide Art Web
The internet does allow an avenue for showing your art that is open to all. Whether an artist has their own website or is using a shared site such as Etsy or fineartamerica, your art gets published. But the chances of your single tree being seen in the forest are immense.
Art vs. Nature
Nature is as breathtaking as art. What artificial creation can compete with natural beauty? The landscape, a popular art form tries to capture the sensation of the outdoors. Is it arrogance or hubris to hang such a piece when a look out the window would more accurately show us? Although ideally, a painting is trying to capture a moment or a feeling instead of just the view.
We often use a wooden frame especially around natural scenes or landscapes. Perhaps the frame was carved from the very trees the landscape depicts?
If you post some thoughts and no one reads it, is it a blog?
aldo vicente: Gate Keeper. This image and tutorial were featured on the cover of 3D Artist Magazine issue #67.