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Not really Painting is it?

Stephen Hornsby-Smith

The art world does not want painters and contemporary paintings today because the 'image creation' business has imposed an embargo on this medium; it deems that painting is unoriginal and 'soft'. Lip service is the only outcome. All must take responsibility, including insipid non controversial or thought provoking work by the artist. Ownership of production still remains with the artist, but is excluded by a cohort of familiar faces - Art colleges, publishing houses, gallery owners, speculators and collectors etc. Instead there has arisen a narcissistic and confessional series of conceptual art pieces, most noted for their oblique messages or their sado-masochistic techniques and attitude. So how have we let a massaged disconnect to painting happen? Where were its defenders?

It is certainly not expected of painting to be able to unmask the desperation of art practitioners and analysts to be able to take on the terrain of concept art, but why not? My preferred use of weapon is the reverse psychology, provoke and restrict any exits from within the painting - let it heat up, and then explode. Don't provide the safety valve of conceptual art to limit the damage done to respectability, convenience and the banal. Don't indulge conceptual artists, don't let them wallow in the mud of voyeurism, violence and some degree of ego greed. However,when I see some one's work, as long as they've thought and struggled lonely and not cowed, that is good work. It's hard not to see commercial high-flyers as largely unsuccessful artists, but I can't help thinking that they remind me of those that can afford 'rehab' or 'relate' in LA, or they can afford and are successful in controversy. I wonder what Priest's think of somone's public confession all in the name of art, and not religion? To me to contain and put pressure on art and make it accountable has more profound 'integrity' rather than providing only a distraction to the rest of the hardships and liberties that make life enthralling. Moreover, don't let art be 'burnt down' to the ground by someone who fixates on 'cleansing art of its impurities' and seek to trap you into ideological rigidity. Or not , you decide.

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