Painting Exhibition- “Constructing the Mersey Gateway Bridge.”

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reserve the date in your calendar to meet the artist at the exhibition

introduction to the exhibition – taken from the on line catalogue

It will come as no surprise to visitors of this exhibition that the Mersey Gateway Bridge is one of the most important infrastructure investments in the UK for many decades. The ambition to connect the Mersey area with a 21st century road transport network to the Northern England is indeed worthy of praise. The bridge itself is equally a remarkable feat of engineering. Shaun Smyth who had the great insight and pressing desire to record how this marvel of engineering would be put together and record it with his singularly unique artistic eye.

I came across Shaun’s paintings over two years ago when I first caught glimpse of a number of examples of artwork of the ‘Bridge’ paintings and drawings on social media. For me it was the drive behind the artistic project that caught my imagination even more so than the bridge itself. I soon came to understand and respect the sheer artistic dedication that Shaun was applying to the task of recording for posterity this astonishing construction from the very start of the building to the fully operational opening of the Mersey Gateway Bridge.

When I first visited Shaun’s studio the extent of his dedicated attention to the creation of truly unique art for the bridge project came quickly into focus. However, I also viewed his work created previous to this huge undertaking of the Mersey Gateway Bridge. Shaun talent and attitude to art in general creation was and is, truly impressive. His Art extends to education, and as a teacher, his authentic and enthusiastic approach to painting and drawing is transferred to his students on a daily basis. Shaun’s justifiable pride of the students achievements and their advancement as young artists is part and parcel of his life, which is typical of Shaun’s belief in the importance of Art in our modern 21st century society….you can read the full introduction here.

Written by Denis Taylor Artist and Editor painters Tubes magazine

watch a short information video created by Dan O’Toole . the full video is available within the on line catalogue: link: https://goo.gl/Z8RcxY

 

an illusionary world of Artistic freedom

I strayed across an interesting old video on You Tube. It was was on those that you find popping up on a feed after you have watched something similar, which is annoying. But, it got me thinking about the relationship between Artistic freedom and Modern Religious Art. This particular You Tube discussion, come lecture, come educational piece, was presented by a line up of tenured academics and young post graduate teachers.

The panel argued how Contemporary Art institutions reacted negatively to work that was based in some sort of religious subject.The discussion started after an initial lecture by one of the Academics, David Thyrell. So began two hours of surprising statements, amusing quotes, some fairly logical reasoning, heart felt speeches and many contradictions from an art academic viewpoint.

painters Tubes magazine/Denis Taylor Artist and Editor
The penance of St. Jerome 1529, 105×80 cm • Oil, Wood by Jacob Pontormo

Thyrell reckoned that… “Only Art that is critical of (western) religion of faith is acceptable as Contemporary Art. And all other art that could be read as religious, is translated to one of a post minimalistic view.” (And)…”that all references to faith and religion is edited out at source”. (And)…”the contemporary Art world does not seek any debate on this form of art because they see it as non-progressive, as propagandistic and not supportive of an advancing culture or indeed, enlightening mankind for the new centuries ahead of us.”Thyrell spoke with passion and summed up his lecture by stating”it seems, that religious work that is non-specific, for example, non-stated religious, ambiguous or totally abstracted with very loose associations, are acceptable as Contemporary Art. Providing the images are not from a Judeo Christian slant. However, the tribal, the Asiatic or the cultism subjects are OK.“

Judaeo-Christian made up the bulk of the audience (note: it was held at a Roman Catholic University) I guessed they must have been appalled by the status-quo of the implied bigotry against religious art levelled against the- ‘Artists of Faith’ – as they call themselves. For me personally, there is no need to be religious specific to appreciate (or create) Art that is good, even if that Art owns its very existence to institutions of any religion persuasion who sponsored it, or indeed created by an artist that holds a particular belief system or faith.

painters Tubes magazine/Denis Taylor Artist and Editor
detail of Pontormo’s ‘deposition’ (1525‒28) at the church of Santa Felicita, Florence

Good Art is what floats my boat, I don’t care who or why or for whom it was created for.

As for the rest of the Art that floods the web and the mass media art reviews, much of that Art that personally I find sort of shallow, egoistically based, trendy or with intellectual invested admiration intentions, I simply pass quickly by, metaphorically speaking, without so much as a cursory thought. For me to be anguished by an Art as the above, only goes to validate it as important to human cultural advancement, which I think it is not.

Most artists, (those I do know personally), when looking at a work of art that could be deemed as ‘Religious’, tend to ignore the possible original intended propaganda or dogma of it, but rather they concentrate on the pure magic of the Art work in front of them. For example some the work of by Pontormo and El Grego, to mention only two (religious) painters of the far distant past, whose work I greatly admire and gain much from. After a while I began to feel that the lecture, come debate, was myopic, but Thyrell’s argument did instigate an examination of my own thoughts on the subject of Modern Art & Freedom of Creation and Modern Religious beliefs in our, so called, multi-sectarian developed Western societies.

If a contemporary artist can go beyond an intellectual subject matter and demonstrate a visual power conducted via an innermost and deeply held belief, then surely that is still a vital and sustainable contemporary Art, is it not? No matter what religion the creator of that art subscribes too, or not as the case maybe. After all, isn’t atheism a brand of religion by another name?

painters Tubes magazine/Denis Taylor Artist and Editot
Rothko Chapel Texas USA (rothkochapel.com)

If we look closer to our own time, rather than the centuries when the Church and Monarchies of Rome and Spain dominated major art commissions, say from the early and middle centuries, we can find a new sort of religious art. Malevich, Kandinsky, Mondrian and the like studied theosophy and talked of a ‘spiritual’ art. Pollock, used the practises of the the Indian Sand Painters, which involved connection with ancestors souls or spirits. Rothko and the gang of colour field painters also spoke of mediative involvement and introspection. Are all those artworks a form of religion? If you have ever visited the Rothko ‘Chapel’ in Texas, you’ll know what I am talking about. And what of Chagall. Are his paintings nothing more than illustrated nostalgia based on childhood memories of stories taken from the Old Testament? Or let’s take Vincent Van Gough, was not his paintings a projection of the love of nature reinterpreted through his own deep seated belief in a universal God? How about Agnes Martin or Sam Francis, each with a Buddhist inclination for transcendentalism or meditation. Is that not religious Art ?

paintersTubesmagazine.com
Sam Francis painting in his studio

In the early 20th century the word nihilistic art was being brandished about to describe the work of the Futurist (Italy), whose dogma was Machines and War to cleanse society and shock it out of it’s perceived malaise [of the time]. The Dada movement used the same framework with banal poetry, non-sensical drama and outlandish visual presentations [to hide away from and in reaction to the horrors of World War One]. Again, the essence here is that the Dada movement believed in something – however abstract that was – rather than nothing. And this obtuse oddity of their belief carried on manifesting itself decades later as the impatience of post-modernist [young] artists and the ambitious driven post-post modernists, and the current belief that ‘selling art, means that it must be good ‘Art’ – And made by a succesful artist (rounds of applause by living painters, can be heard here on instagram and facebook) which where I guess we find ourselves in today’s visual art world.

Though, just maybe the web is changing the ground rules. I don’t know about you, but when I view art on the web, I find more and more of it has a growing and obvious ‘belief-structure’ of some kind behind it. And much of it is good Art, mostly created by ‘unknowns’. Sure, there is still that twee stuff and the obvious bash it out to sell it for financial gain ‘ hamburger art’, not forgetting the overly academic art whitterings of art professors and so called art intellectuals who try to convince the audiences in the cities of the world, that this piece of stuff or that offerings of purely conceptual ideas, is great progressive Art (and not just simply a novel or good idea). After all it does put a high monetary value sticker on it, provided it is accompanied by the obligatory academic recommendations, especially if the Art has the blessings of Art Directors of state run institutions.

essayaffirm72

So, do Artists have total freedom to create what Art they want?  Maybe not entirely, if you agree with David Thyrell in the You Tube video I mentioned earlier. Is Religious Art (in all it’s manifestations) making a comeback? The Zeitgeist signs suggests it may well be, but not in the ‘normal’ sense of the word. In this world of the politics of infusing the inhabitants with psychological terror, global climate change fear, mega disaster predictions, the accelerating greed for money and power, irresponsible political leaders and not forgetting the inhumanity to humanity we witness daily, a world that we live in today (and perhaps always have). Maybe it’s not such a bad ambition for visual artists to ascend to a higher level and start to transmit messages of hope. And if you’ll pardon the religious, (come 1960’s hippy reference and of course the Artist known as John Lennon) visual art messages of Love and Peace, for all who reside on this tiny insignificant planet tucked away in the corner the limitless time and space of the universe.

As David Byrne once wrote,

Heaven is a place, where Nothing ever happens.”

So, now I have to gather my courage and meander slowly to my studio, where another blank space awaits. I wonder what will appear? I guess I just have to have faith that something of real artistic value will show itself, maybe even holding the restorative creative power of the universe itself ?

One never knows, that’s one reason to be an Artist, isn’t it?

©2018/2019 written by Denis Taylor, Artist and Editor of painters Tubes magazine

the universe - on painters Tubes magazine
small part of the many Universes – photograph from NASA

 

 

TUBES TURNER PRIZE 2019

painters Tubes magazine will be announcing a great opportunity for young artists in the near future. The Tubes Turner project will begin with a ‘shout out’ for Artists to submit three paintings for the TUBES TURNER PRIZE – The prize for the selected winner(s) who must be under 25 years old will include a five page face to face ‘interview’ and feature with painters Tubes magazine  – The feature will consist of a comprehensive editorial on the artists and the art and a prime exhibition in the Tubes Artists (on line) Gallery. Plus a complete set of the superb Turner Oil Paint (worth over £200).

Full details will be published by April 23rd 2019 with the winner(s) announced in September 2019. Book mark this website or go over to FaceBook –  like our page @painterstubes – And join our network of artists, galleries and art lovers.

painters Tubes magazine and Turner Oil Paints Prize award
TUBES TURNER PRIZE

UK’s leading Art Magazine – Now has an excellent Artists Gallery

 

TUBES ARTISTS GALLERY
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issue number 11 is now on line to read free – this issue has two fantastic articles – Colin Taylor Part two of his wonderful 3-part essay on contemporary landscape and how to translate that popular genre into a vital and important work of art…part two discusses “what is seeing.” – The second article is about why the Transavantgarde, movement that started in 1979,  is still a relevant way to think about Art today and the choices a painter makes during the creative process. SPIKE & Friends – our old critically minded journalists, returns from their travels and talks to TUBES about space for painting exhibitions, or rather, the lack of it. And of course not forgetting about the brilliant 11 artists taking part in the first new Tubes Artists Gallery – A space thats just for painters.

don’t miss this great issue… click here

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illusionary world of Artistic Freedom.

painters Tubes magazine
The penance of St. Jerome 1529, 105×80 cm • Oil, Wood

A while ago I strayed across an interesting old video on You Tube that got me thinking about the relationship between Artistic freedom and Modern Religious Art. This particular discussion, come lecture, was presented by a line up of tenured academics and young post graduate teachers. The panel argued how Contemporary Art institutions reacted negatively to work that was based in some sort of religious subject.The discussion started after an initial lecture by one of the Academics, David Thyrell. So began two hours of surprising statements, amusing quotes, some fairly logical reasoning, heart felt speeches and many contradictions from an art academic viewpoint.

Thyrell reckoned that… “Only Art that is critical of (western) religion of faith is acceptable as Contemporary Art. And all other art that could be read as religious, is translated to one of a post minimalistic view.” (And he went on to say)…”that all references to faith and religion is edited out at source”. (And also that…)…”the contemporary Art world does not seek any debate on this form of art because they see it as non-progressive, as propagandistic and not supportive of an advancing culture or indeed, enlightening mankind for the new centuries ahead of us.”

Thyrell spoke with passion and summed up his lecture by stating:-

”it seems, that religious work that is non-specific, for example, non-stated religious, ambiguous or totally abstracted with very loose associations, are acceptable as Contemporary Art. Providing the images are not from a Judeo Christian slant. However, the tribal, the Asiatic or the cultism subjects are OK.“

Judaeo-Christian made up the bulk of the audience (note: it was held at a Roman Catholic University) I guessed they must have been appalled by the status-quo of the implied bigotry against religious art levelled against the ‘Artists of Faith’ as they call themselves. For me personally, there is no need to be religious specific to appreciate (or create) Art that is good, even if that Art owns its very existence to institutions of any religion persuasion who sponsored it, or indeed created by an artist that holds a particular belief system or faith.

Good Art is what floats my boat, I don’t care who or why or for whom it was created for. As for the rest of the Art that floods the web and the mass media art reviews, much of that, I find sort of shallow, or egoistically based, or trendy or with sought after intellectual inveigle high street gallery intention. I simply pass quickly by, metaphorically speaking, without so much as a cursory thought. So for me to be anguished by an Art as the above, would only go to validate it as important to a sort of global cultural or spiritual advancement, which I personally, believe it is not, perhaps it’s has the absolutely reverse effect.

Most artists, (those I know personally), when looking at a work of art and those that could be deemed as ‘Religious’ minded, tend to ignore the intended propaganda or dogma that is implied in the painting, but rather they are far more concerned about the pure magic of the work in front of them.

For example some the work of Pontormo or El Greco, to mention only two (religious sponsored) painters of the distant past, whose work I personally very much admire and gain a feeling of wonder and inspiration from.

After a while I began to feel that the lecture, come debate, was slightly myopic….

The full article will be published in issue #11 of painters Tubes magazine, December  2018 

painters Tubes magazine

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