INTERVIEW:  MASHA MARJANOVICH, SCULPTOR

by Dragan Bombek

The world of art continuously sparks disputes and controversy, partly over the very definition of art itself. We spoke to sculptor Masha Marjanovich on this subject.

Q:What is art?

A:Although the experience of art is highly subjective, art is first and foremost a form of communication. It uses visual language that can be readily understood by its audience. A work of art transmits the artist’s ideas and experiences to the viewer. Whether it be a sculptural compilation of found objects or an exquisitely painted landscape, it will only function as art if it succeeds in delivering the artist’s intended message to its audience – in case of the sculpture, a comment on wastefulness of our culture; and in case of the painting, simple delight in the beauty of nature. If the message is not received by the viewer, the artwork has failed.

Q:What if the artist doesn’t have a specific message?

A:In some instances, the message is more open, intending to provoke thought and guesses, but even there it communicates a specific message; if it leaves the viewer indifferent, it has failed. So art has to reach the hearts and minds of its public in order to be truly art.

Q:How do you evaluate artwork?

A:The best art transcends time and culture, because it relates experience of life common to all humanity. Also, the artwork is created with skill and knowledge of the craft that has value of its own. But it is important to remember that technical skill in crafting the object of art is not sufficient; artwork has to have the content that moves us, that inspires, pleases or provokes thought.

Q:Who should say what is art and what isn’t?

A:I am glad you asked that question. This has been a particularly touchy issue since the advent of abstract art. Although professional art critic has a very useful function in enhancing our understanding and appreciation of an artwork, good art should speak equally to everyone even without such interpretation. So the bottom line is that everyone should have the right to value and assess art, because art is indeed a very personal experience. If you find that a work of art moves you in some way, then it is unquestionably valid as art. The remainder of the process of evaluating art is academic.

Q:What inspires you?

A:I am always amazed at the beauty found in nature, where form and function are intertwined in an aesthetic balance. The shape of a slender woman’s arm, a sweeping bird wing, a delicate flower petal, these forms are not only beautiful, but very expressive as well. They can relate a rich tapestry of emotions and experiences to which everyone can relate.

The sculptures of Masha Marjanovich reflect her convictions, effectively conveying deep emotions and statements about life.