Editor’s Letter | Art Matters

In a tough world, beauty is necessary

By Kristin Hoerth

Street in Late August by Daniel Robbins.

Street in Late August by Daniel Robbins.

This story was featured in the September 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art September 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

If you read this page at all regularly, you know that I rarely comment on events outside the art world. Today, though, just before I started to write this note, I caught the national news broadcast on television, and I was once again saddened upon hearing the latest reports about the crash of the Malaysian airplane in Ukraine. It had stunned me when I first heard about it several days ago, and today’s news recounted chaos at the crash site, the first bits of evidence about who is responsible, and unanswered questions about why any person or group of people would shoot down a passenger plane.

Of course, by the time you read this, the situation may look quite different—or it may have faded from memory. Of course, it’s only one in a string of terrible events in the world (the violent Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip was the very next news story tonight, in fact). And I have no desire whatsoever to broach the complex political aspects of these events.

What I do want to say is this: Never have I been more sure that art can be an antidote to ugliness. Before I turned on the news tonight, I had been reviewing our annual “21 Under 31” story, which begins on page 102. We asked all of the young artists featured in it to tell us about their creative sparks—the activities, places, or things that compel them to pick up their brushes. Part of the answer that Samuel Enriquez (page 111) gave came immediately to mind: “the world needs a strong dose of true beauty.”

Indeed. I firmly believe that our conflicted, chaotic world is also teeming with beautiful, wonderful, amazing things and people, and that it is essential to keep those things strongly in mind and in view. It’s easy to cast art aside as unimportant, unnecessary, irrelevant—but it’s not. It’s essential. Without it the world is bleak and joyless.

Fortunately for all of us, today’s art world is chock-full of talent. We were overwhelmed again this year by the strong candidates for our 21 Under 31 roundup. This year’s crop of young artists is perhaps more diverse than ever; there’s a strong contingent of figurative painters—a trend we’ve seen recently—but an equally strong group of still-life, landscape, and wildlife painters. It’s great fun for the editorial team to discover these fresh new faces, and I hope you have just as much fun reading about them and admiring their work. I hope it brings joy and beauty into your life today.

Featured in the September 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art September 2014 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

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