Notes on Painting
‘While ever painting can furnish profound knowledge, so painting shall remain appropriate.
When knowledge dies, so everything dies.’
Painting is represented in current gallery exhibition programmes. Perhaps there are fewer painting shows now as painting has to compete with other more favoured art forms. A noticeable development over the past five years is the increase of international artist’s exhibiting across the UK. We are exposed to more international Art, eclectic shows, curated mixed group shows, and ‘Art-Fashion’ shows with ‘stuff’ that reflects the; I, me, now.
National and regional collections reflect the spirit of the times. Painting has not been the mainstay of art exhibition for a considerable number of years. I am not aware of any specific changes in collecting policy. Speculatively however, I imagine regional public galleries may wish, in the purchasing new works, to seek out art that reflects the, ‘taste’ of the times. This work will have been approved and validated by arbiter’s in The Artworld. This work will be less speculative and therefore not such a potential risk. Any cultural £ spent has to be well considered. It is politic and Culture may have little to do with it.
The critic and the curator may personally be interested in painting. There may be pressures to review or to exhibit more ‘sexy’ artforms, ‘faddish aesthetics’ and other democratic creations. The decrease in painting grabbing the headlines could give rise to the notion that painting had died; again. and again. and again. There is renewed interest in television programmes concerning, ‘The Old Masters’ and painting portraiture. This could be the beginnings of a rediscovery of the Painter’s Art. It could determine to be the antidote and a rationale to the digital age.
The previous questions will highlight some of the issue encountered by our funding bodies. Competing Art Forms. There are so many multiple NOW’s. Painting for painting's sake will, at times, get overlooked. Whole generations of painters’ work may never seriously get seen and understood as being relevant to the times. At a preview evening at a regional gallery, an officer was heard to say, ‘Painting is Dead.’ Was this a personal opinion, a professional one, or was it reflecting an arts policy?
I enjoy grappling with such questions and It would be interesting to continue such conversations with others...within painting forums. The, ‘Painting is Dead’ debate recurs with all the velocity of this seasons fashion. In a three second culture, by the time the enquiry has reached you, the opposite will be true. ‘I paint therefore I am’ and regardless of popularity, ‘I am not new but I am Contemporary.’ I adjourn to paint.