- Talent orientated paintings, were at best frowned upon or at worst, said to be created by ‘hacks’. That was according to some of the contemporary art worlds shakers and movers of less than a decade ago. The trend today shows the opposite standpoint. Extraordinary photo realistic images receive by far the largest number of Google+, Facebook Likes and Twitter retweets, more so than any other form of Art posts (i.e. abstract paintings, photographic & painted montages etc). There again what do the general public know about art? Besides what they like – Nothing! Or so some of the art academics would have us believed many moons ago. To be honest, I tend to agree with a comment made by Jonathan Jones on one of his blogs (Guardian.co.uk) a few years ago, when he said: “I don’t see the point of producing photo-realistic paintings today, why not just take a digital photo [and manipulate it] in Photoshop. That would do the same job”. You may have been right Mr Jones, a painting does need to have much more than just a demonstration of talent or technical knowledge of the person who did it. does it. I mean you can’t help be to be impressed by the skill shown, but rather less inspired by it as a work of art.
- My other real concern with all this ‘photo-referencing’ type of work, as with much highly technical and exacting figurative representational realist painting, is the seemingly lack of emotional or even spiritual content to the finished work. It’s as if the process of photographic -reference removes the creative spontaneity and or, the human connection to transmit that ‘other-worldly’ feeling through the hand and brush to the canvas. Perhaps because the photographic reference sort of gets in between the artist and the flat surface?
- above : Rothko Painting: ©Kate Rothko Prize and Christopher Rothko/DACS
- Mark Rothko once said that he simply could not employ figurative work into his painting. His paintings Rothko at the Tate Gallery London are more of an introspective enlightening experience for the viewer, despite the canvas being no more than layers of flat colour painted over and over in limited colours. For the emotionally sensitive individual, a Rothko can make you cry real tears. For many others they are simply boring blocks of colour.That was perhaps the weakness with that period of Art (flat colour plain painters) it just wasn’t a universally understood visual language and thus it became an intellectual’s property of appreciation and not a style or way of an expression that could stand along side in equal stature to say that of a William Mallord Turner canvas, or a Monet, or a Van Gogh, when you take a look at the general publics attentendance records for museum exhibitions.
What good are paintings, you can’t eat them…
Despite that foreknowledge, as a painter I mean, many, many years ago, when I was a relative boy, as far as being an artists is concerned, I decided that it was pointless to paint in the same way over and over using photographic reality or references, or like an impressionist or any other movement that had gone before me, despite art professionals advise to the contrary. Yet, I didn’t want be ‘labelled’ as an abstract painter, or indeed as a landscape painter, or a realist painter or anything else. I wanted to sort of apply myself as a newbie every time. I wanted to become a painter of perhaps multi-styled-pictures (and suffer the consequences of total obscurity and limited success, if thats what it meant, which it did).
My artistic ethical mind told me that I didn’t need rounds of applause for my work either, even though my brain and my ego told me otherwise. Today, when I surf the web, I view the many thousands of ‘communities’ of Artists following the same road that many Art specialists advise artists on what road to take [to success]. It is a road that I personally rejected, all those years ago. I guess the emphatic consistent style dogma, one that was set down decades ago by the high street Galleries, have now become entrenched into the minds and souls of visual Artists. And as I view increasing quantities of individuals who make a work of art in a specific style and repeat that style over and over, I ask myself, “what’s the point?” – How can repetition of subject help a painter become all that he could be? How does sticking to the same style help with art development? Why is taking a risk avoided by many painters, yet not so much by other contemporary art forms? Should painters actually avoid the style trap, one that is a major hazard on the imaginary contemporary motorway, a highway that should be leading towards points of discovery, rather than a stylised multi canvas pile up.
…Is it not time for painters to evolve their art and try to be an explore painting as an Art form? And not simply be a metaphorical painting tourist following that tired and worn path of one artist who just happened to stumble upon one good place to sit in the sun?
- So, whats the current [trend] state of original visual art? – The last three or four years has seen the rise of ‘Zombie Formalism’ – An impolite tag perhaps, said to be first used by an American art lecturer, to describe painters who are resurrecting the theories of Art critics from the 1940’s…….oh hum… here we go again… “play it again Sam”Denis Taylor. Editors blog, painters Tubes.com March 28th 2017. (also published on Blogger)