Have the wheels come off the bandwagon of "Painting"?



1. We should celebrate 150-ish years of modernist art, but we seem fixated with the ultimate extreme of abstraction as the polar opposite of realism. Like Giotto in the 13th century (who introduced perspective and 3-D painting), Kandinsky revolutionised painting with his abstract paintings in the 20th century. So, so, so what!? You've invented the wheel, and then does the world stop? I think we must arrest the cliché of revolution and counter-revolution in painting, and instead recognise that we need to debate, argue and grow, by our ability to paint today's issues whilst having the benefit of evolution in painting. The "big bang" has happened and evolution has started, rather than finished.

2. The purchase of paintings have often been stereotypically accused of the "confiscation" of art by its storage in secret vaults, preventing the public from witnessing epoch forming art. If this exists, this is to me an ultimate act of nihilistic "display". However, as an artist trying to encourage people to purchase my paintings, I find it particularly galling to be associated with such behaviour. Furthermore, I'd say to such cynics that some of the most accessible and prestigious galleries and museums have been the beneficiaries of highly prized collections being donated freely for public view. This indicates to me a profound understanding of the beauty and heroism of art, and not just wanting a fat cheque after a "cattle market auction" of great work.

3. Ambulance chasers or headliners, renaissance this and ironic that, glamour or decadence, addictions, graffiti stockbrokers and child wunderkind, narrative or free, poverty or "doing rather well", heroes that can't be tainted with corruption unless it has great promotional purpose, and finally, revolutionaries who become Professors of Drawing. To use an American phrase, that sucks!


© 2019 Stephen Hornsby-Smith

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