We all love the beautiful: A sunset on the ocean, fall foliage, a blooming peony. Should art also contain beauty? Or is it to be strictly reflective of humanity? In this issue, I want to address these questions from my own perspective. Here is a statement I wrote a few years ago which is still true today.

“There is a widespread notion that any work of art worth its salt must be incomprehensible or out of reach, politically or socially motivated or clearly evoke the sanctioned concerns of the time in which it is created. Such directions as minimalism, conceptual art, formal realism, appropriation, installation works and attempts at the grotesque are all relevant. Issues intrinsic to our 21st Century culture such as poverty, discrimination in all forms, political views and hunger – are all worthy subjects; but to declare that the other side of life experience: Optimism, beauty, the recognizable, is not worthy of note seems simplistic at best. I disagree with the idea that incomprehensibility equates to sophistication. Is art required to be beautiful? No; however, works of art certainly have the right to be beautiful.”

Jerald Melberg is the President and Director of Jerald Melberg Gallery, which he founded in 1983. Representing living artists and important estates, the gallery is located at 625 South Sharon Amity Road. Visit www.jeraldmelberg.com to find out more, or call 704-365-3000. The gallery is open Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.