Sunday, February 18, 2018

Art & Wine - More Than A Matter Of Taste?

So I'm often discussing the taste of wines and my taste in wine and often the topic of Art comes up. For wine, the most popular and well known variety that we grow is Marechal Foch but many people haven't tried it know what it tastes like. Hybrid grapes can have similar flavour profiles to vinifera (Pinot Noir, Zinfandel etc) but each one has their own flavour profile - no different than Pinot Noir is from Zinfandel. Taking it further, the style of wine making, location, annual climate conditions all play their part and can change the flavour vintage to vintage. Reds that are light and fruity against bold and tannic, sweet tropical muscat to crisp and floral really comes down to taste and everyone's taste preference is different. Art shares the conversation here as people have specific preferences, Landscapes - Wildlife - Abstract etc.
What appeals to someone may not appeal so much to another. For me, wine is very much about the taste. If I like the taste its good wine, but I am also particularly interested in the back story - so how did the wine come to be? You may have heard the phrase "great wine starts with growing great grapes". The type of grape used, its history, how it is grown, the climate conditions, vineyard practices are key to the wines end result. The vinification of the grape juice is the second half of the story... the craftsmanship in the winery, were the grapes grown by the winery or did the winery buy the grapes from another vineyard or import from another country, the fermenting style, oak aged or not, yeast type, blending of varieties - all big parts of the story and collectively impact the wine. Even if I don't particularly like the taste of a wine I often have a great appreciation for how it came to be.

Similarly with paintings, its the final piece that everyone sees, and it either appeals to the individual or not. But in the same manner as wine I have great appreciation for how the art came to be. There are so many ways the art could be produced, did the artist paint on location, did they replicate a photographs or use photos for reference. Did they take the photos and immerse themselves in the moment with the animal or scenery? In creating the image on canvas did the personal connection to the imagery impact the final outcome. Perhaps even an emotional attachment to the subject matter or a cause. Consider the type of medium the painting is produced on, canvas or board, paint type, self stretched canvas or framed by the artist or commercially framed. Again the final piece is the culmination of a number of variables and while I may have less an appreciation for the aesthetics of some art, I often have a great appreciation for how the piece came to be.

Carleen before heading to the beach.
Consider the amazing painting above. The painting was created by professional artist Carleen Ross. Its titled "Faith", it is a huge 38 inch x 48 inch. The painting is part her 2018 series "Green With Envy" and she captured this image of a green sea turtle labouring to get over the sharp volcanic rock before plunging back into the ocean. She took this photo among a series of photos while working on location in Hawaii, enduring long days on the beach, sunburn, and dehydration.

Nasty Sunburn
She has said this experience transformed how she sees and represents these creatures on canvass. It has invigorated her drive for delivering awareness about the the plight of endangered sea turtles and she works to assist sea turtle organizations in Canada, California and Hawaii. I love this painting, and I also love the story behind it and how the painting came to be - it changes how I see the painting, how it makes me feel, and the experience in looking at it.  A very positive enhancement.

For me the sensory appeal, be it to my eyes in the case of art, or by taste in the way of wine are the first important impressions. But the story behind the wine or art can be fascinating and enhance the relative experience. With wine, it has an impact, good or bad, on my impression of a wine long after the taste is gone.