Sunday, February 23, 2014
To Title or Not to Title
Liz Kettle on the blog today.
As some of my new work becomes more abstract I am re-thinking the need and use of titles. While most of my work is still narrative and based in story some of my newer pieces aren't. I am at a loss as to how to title them.
As usual, when I start wondering about something I started doing some research on titles and found some fun stuff like this Abstract Art Titlegenerator. Now, one could have a lot of fun and waste days here!
I also learned that naming art is a rather recent development. Renaissance painters did not title their work. Pieces were referred to under general categories such as the artist, the patron, or the subject. While mid 17th century artist may have started naming their paintings, it seems that art dealers and galleries may be the real instigators of the trend toward titles. They need to keep track of art and sell it after all. Names certainly help with that.
Obviously some work can simply be titled factually as with landscapes/urban-scapes, people, pets, and still life work. However in abstract work titles just don't usually leap out.
On one hand titles make it easier to identify a specific piece of work and to refer to it when writing. Titles can be practical when exhibiting your work, getting the right information with the right piece, ensuring catalog descriptions are accurate and may cause a second look from a viewer after they read the title as they try to understand the meaning of the piece. This is especially true if you use mysterious or sentimental and symbolic titles.
One can identify a series and use numbers like Thread #298 I suppose. Is that better than simply untitled? Or I suppose I could name it Untitled Thread #298. Each piece has a meaning for me but that meaning may not be something anyone else would ever care about.
What are your thoughts on titles?
Do you want to understand what the artist was thinking or exploring?
Would you prefer to just enter each piece of art with no title to influence your thinking?