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

 

 

The Art Game

painters TUBES favourite art critic and muse, known to all unsundry as Spike, returns to the latest issue with a pragmatic look at the back side of Art – business and selling. What follows is a extract from the full article that you can read free on the latest issue of painters Tubes magazine…

TUBES magazine art critic - SPIKE
talking about the art game

…Showing paintings on line, is now the main stream for the dissemination of an artists work. Even though real life exhibitions are still relevant for many artists, an on line presence is essential (if only for street cred). That “painting is a dead art” conversation has faded away as fast as padded shoulders did in the middle 1980’s. There has been a major change in attitude to painting in the last few years. In part, this may be entirely due to the need for the high street galleries to survive the financial crisis, the one that started in earnest in 2009 and is still having an effect now, not to mention adding to the problem with (thinking here about) Donald Trump and the European Union on the brink of collapse helped along by French Riots, and No Deal Brexit.

Today, more than ever, high street galleries need to sell ‘more-stuff’ and earn extra profit to pay those stupidly high ‘business rates’ in the major Cities – And lets be honest, paintings sell much quicker than sculpture or worse those ‘cool’ avant-garde installations of nonsense that rely on high brow art academics to authenticate the cultural importance of something that most people wouldn’t actually install in their homes (even if they don’t say so publicly). And usually there is a heavy price tag for that sort of contemporary bull-shit art. Consequently the contemporary ‘arty farty’ marketplace is tiny compared to the ‘popular paintings’ art market. Even though there are only so many landscapes that anyone can put in their homes. That market will also run dry soon unless some risk taking by galleries start, pretty damn quick.

The sheer size of the (art) market (because of the www) has outgrown all that ‘arty farty stuff’ by leaps and bounds – certainly as far as turnover is concerned. So the www has become the place to set up your stall. Major funded on-line art galleries and some not so well funded independent artists all have a go at selling direct to art collectors and art lovers. Even Tubes magazine are having a go (although they already know there is no money to be made so why bother trying – the space it is giving to artists is in keeping with the magazine policy – Art before Money at all cost).

Spike talks about the art game..painters Tubes mag
selling art

The one man art galleries start-ups fail quickly- some have a sort of ‘in the third year we will make money fiscal plan’ and obtain a bank loans. Most, in reality, loose much more money than they bargained for and are wrapped up prematurely by their investors (or more commonly the Bank) the ones that backed the idea (with solid security that could be recouped) in the first place.

Today it’s not a case of chasing huge profits for many galleries, on the contrary, it’s survival we are talking about here. Many on-line outfits are simply losing too much money, year in and year out.
“..there is no money in Art..” a very wise man once said to me (back in 1989).
He may have been right but for the wrong reason, as far as I am concerned. Should Art really be treated as a commodity? And be sold as such? – Stack ’em high, sell ’em cheap is not an effective strategy, not for original art, so when times get tough, (in Art) the tough bottle it….. to read the full article please click here

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TUBES ARTISTS GALLERY
CLICK HERE TO READ FREE ON LINE

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

TUBES Artists Gallery – Click here to view

Helping artists in more ways than one

read all about the new Mersey Gateway Bridge painting project 2018.

In issue #8 of painters Tubes, we featured an artist who had submitted a number of works for consideration to be featured in the magazine. Most of the work were landscape paintings, and although they were excellent, they was not what TUBES were looking for, at the time. Landscape painting had been extensively covered in tubes issue #5. (click to read free on line)

The artist explained that the landscape work created were essential to help fund ongoing research with preparatory painting for a series of very large paintings, ones that took figurative painting into another direction and subject line that normal figure work, but it would be some time before they were fully resolved.

This special series of  paintings, (the artist explained), was connected with a specific investigation into human relationships through the eyes of another age. And how the myths related to our own time. Tubes Editor was quite taken by the paint application and the subject and arranged a personal visit to the artists studio. It was here that he viewed the full range of work and as a consequence featured the artist in issue #8.

btw: issue#8 alone has had an audience of over 9,000  (click here to read free on line )

Some time later, the artist, was  financing the large series of  work by trying hard to sell selling landscape painting, but one day was surprised by a visitor to the studio. The visitor explained that they were so impressed by the work (seen in painters Tubes magazine) that they wanted to provide funds for the artist, to assist in the creation and finishing off the series. The artist contacted Tubes and told the Editor of the news which “..was in most part, due to the article in painters Tubes magazine…”

For all of us at Tubes, that one story, makes the case for painters Tubes magazine as the most influential Art Magazine real and fills us with delight…. So to the artist in question, congratulations and hoping you paint many more great works of art…all the best from all of us at painters Tubes magazine.

contact the Editor at: tubes@telia.com if you have an interesting series of paintings you would like to discuss or a studio visit (live, or on line or via Skype or apple Face-Time)

©painters-tubes-magazine 2018

“defining the elemental” exhibition on show until 12th January 2019

Photograph below: Contemporary Artist, Denis Taylor in front of the installation at Crossley Gallery, Dean Clough, Halifax, UK 

Denis Taylor Artist and Writer. painters Tubes magazine
Denis Taylor with his work at Crossley Gallery, Dean Clough. Left: ‘Acid Trip’ (1985) Middle: ‘Life Began in Water’ (2018) Right: Cellular Abstraction (2014)

The exhibition “defining the elemental is an exhibition of painting in the UK. The ten artists participating are showing authentic work that covers contemporary landscape, portraits and new abstract painting. The extensive venue is the Crossley Gallery which is within the extremely large Dean Clough business  and culture complex in Halifax, West Yorkshire  ( for directions and information- please click here) The exhibition is currently on and is running through to 12th January 2019.

Many of the artists as renown throughout the North of England and beyond for their progressive, dynamic, semi-realist and abstract new work, such as, Denis Taylor, Ian Norris (see TUBES issue #1) and Jeanette Barnes along with major project painters such as Shaun Smyth (Mersey Gateway Bridge project-   see TUBES issue #8)   and original impasto styled (inspired by Kossoff/Auerbach) portraiture work  created by Richard Fitton (see TUBES issue #7)

The full Catalogue with examples of all the ten artists work, comments on their work and poetry that accompanies the paintings (written for the exhibition by David Traves) features in the exhibition  is available here: Defining the Elemental catalogue

You can also read a review of the exhibition in issue #10 of painters Tubes magazine  Please click here to go to the magazine

painters Tubes

Tubes Artists Gallery -Show #1- Dec 2018

painters Tubes Artists Gallery
Brian Cote, one of the 10 artists in the first TUBES Artists Show

The first Tubes Artists Gallery will be published with the release of issue #11 in December. Exhibiting will be Ten Artists from the UK, USA, and mainland Europe.Each artist will have a full page feature and three examples of their work offered to over 70,000 on line Tubes readers. To feature in future shows in the Tubes artists Gallery please submit three examples of your original paintings to tubes@telia.com or fill in the form below where we can visit your website.

ARTISTS – SUBMIT YOUR WORK BY POINTING TUBES MAGAZINE TO YOUR WEBSITE PLEASE COMPLETE THE FORM BELOW

for more information and update on the gallery go to: https://tubesartistsgallery.blogspot.com/p/painters-tubes-magazine.html