Nonrepresentational art is challenging. The lack of recognizable content causes confusion concerning those who contemplate it. However, the beauty of nonrepresentational art is that each viewer is allowed to create their own conclusions as they observe the work. Throughout this exhibition, we encourage you to think creatively and use your imagination to find meaning in these untitled works.
Many know George Starcher as the seventh president of the University of North Dakota from 1954 to 1971. Starcher had a positive reputation among academics and students. During his later years, he developed a love for creating art. In 1995, a portfolio of nearly 200 works by George Starcher was donated to UND by his family. Known for his watercolors of campus buildings and landscapes, it was not until 2019 that this particular portfolio of Starcher’s donated works was re-examined and made available to be fully appreciated by the public.
Starcher may have been influenced by the artistic era of his time, including the nonrepresentational art movement. This began in the mid-20th century when people started using art to express thoughts or emotions through abstract, nonrepresentative shapes, patterns, textures, and colors. One of the most famous artists of this movement is Jackson Pollock, who used the fluidity of paint to convey his meaning. This form of artistic expression is unique due to the lack of recognizable shapes, figures, or scenes. It forces the viewer to analyze the piece in their own way, leading to an individual conclusion. That is one reason our class was so interested to explore this portfolio of work. As an honors fine arts class, our goal was to make this often misunderstood genre of art as accessible and enjoyable to the general public as possible. Our goal was not to force the viewer to come to a definite conclusion about each piece, but instead encourage the viewer to ascertain their own meaning from the art, just as we did. We hope you enjoy our exhibition.
Emme Miller and Logan Anderson, on behalf of the Fall 2019 Intro to Fine Arts Honors Course