When I was taking printmaking classes at the university level, I was an anomaly. My images were full of colors and curves, few straight lines, and no black. In the relief printmaking class, skulls and angst were typical. When I put my relief prints up during a critique, they garnered few comments.
Part of this was the stage of life I was in (mid-30s) vs. my classmates (late teens to 20.) Certainly art can be used to overtly communicate dark feelings. But must work have the gushing blood of Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith Slaying Holofernes to make a serious statement? I think not.