Art can be both a window and a mirror. The experience of visiting several current Seattle shows depicting the outdoors has KUOW art critic Gary Faigin thinking about what art can tell us about our own attitudes, beyond those of the artist themselves.
I spent a long time living in New York within walking distance of the Metropolitan Museum. There were particular parts of the collection that I visited faithfully, especially the many rooms of paintings in the European and American wings. What was curious was how certain works would stop me in my tracks after having being nearly ignored for years, while others that were once favorites would seem so much less brilliant, less important. I would come upon a modern work that had always mystified me and be drawn in for the first time; but there were those contemporary paintings that seemed to retreat from clarity to obscurity, or, more importantly, from relevance to irrelevance.