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The cold concrete of certainty

Stephen Hornsby-Smith

The cold concrete of certainty rather than man's need to peer over the edge of the abyss


The recently rejected medium of Painting isn't just a skill lost in the curriculum of many Art Collages, or a sedentary backwater in today's Artistic avant garde, but is the instrument of transformation and is central to today's philosophical agenda. Ironically by being marginalized it is is a unique place to express how overbearing and invasive cohorts of cynicism and deconstruction are. Painting can open the debate about how over congested, greedy,and oppressive conceptual Art, installation Art, Video Art etc has become, and can expose the 'burlesque of Art novelty instead of Art originality today. Long live the human connection of the imperfect human hand with an imperfect fallible world. Moreover, one can't get a fix on a moving target made pervasive yet smothered and concealed to prevent scrutiny by all its fashionable acolytes. Those conventions don't apply to the medium of Painting. How? The medium of Painting is reduced to 2 dimensionality, in a specific and definitive framework that you can put singularly under a metaphorical microscope and has the potential to reveal the boring repetitious nature of much of the Art world today. Yet the Painting deniers are still legion. However, Painting can focus peoples minds to put Art into the same pressure-cooker of 21st century life and watch it explode in directions that one can't predict, or, freeze it and wait until it snaps its shackles to equally get the same effect.This is exactly the area of life that Hobbs was terrified of - the state of nature, a place without compromise, consensus or peaceful tranquility. Painting poses the most intriguing of questions today: Are you really wanting to see the unpredictable, the violent truth of life today? Do you really want to peer over the edge of the abyss where you cannot guarantee the consequences?

Conceptual Artis overrated and overheating with certainty. It has become a social habit and a predictable reflex. It is either trying too hard or not trying at all to be original.It is claiming it is defusing artistic IED's but instead I feel it's neglecting its Art duty to disrupt, antagonize as well as inspiring people to think freely. Today I believe one has to master being off the social grid and ready to confront anything in the way on it, whilst recognizing that Art conformity is the author of anti-Painting par excellence. Too much attention has been cynically whipped-up to generalize about contemporary Painting. Yes bad 'comfort-zone' Painting has become a safe haven for those who want to devalue and make anti-Painting propaganda, policed by the artistic paramilitary Art Buffs. I do not offer and never did offer a Nirvana of peace and tranquility in which Painting gently guides us in the right direction.Like in life you can not avoid the concept of an artistic 'just peace' without desperate and false trust whilst you can not have an artistic 'just war' without things getting out of hand by a bunch of out of control vigilantes. But Painting symbolizes the break-up of falsehoods and failed plans etc more than any other artistic medium, because it has got 'previous', and a tarnished record.

This Artistic prison

Whilst Painting imprisons you in a 2D space,you can either pace up and down thinking self-pitying thoughts serving dutifully your sentence, or you can live as free as you can by thinking yourself free -the best vehicle for this generally is by Painting yourself on a metaphorical tropical island of freedom. This maybe you painting your cell or it maybe your dreams outside your cell - it is up to you to discover your own path of not letting the bastards of conformity grind you down.

I am digging my heels in, putting on the break by doing a hand-break turn, whilst putting my foot on the accelerator. I'm now off the grid making my own directions. Why should Painting purely be about physical figurative restrictions as well as having to obey the arbitrary 'rules of abstraction'?

This is where there is an Artistic War being fought against defeatism and fatalism that marginalizes people who refuse to be comfortable, respectable and as rebellious as is allowed by the 'de rigeurs' of this world, the designer social flavoureurs . Don't worry all you conceptual farters, deconstruction is your 'friend', and will come to your rescue whilst you persist on being a playboy/playgirl waiter/waitress whilst hiding inside your Gothic jump-suit.

Painting is indeed under curfew whilst the anointed creative types swallow their Molotov cocktails they also brag about wanting to throw them at either side of the barricades. The only throwing of anything is the throwing up of having become a cliche. That 'Pit is done', but no doubt you're plotting to keep Pit open ' by fracking in Pit. I can see the Tabloids loving that: "'Miners for fracking" endorsed by union leadership". What relevance has this to do with the medium of Painting? Anti-Painting is done too! Whilst Painter's plow, sow and harvest to be self-sufficient, this metaphorical vodka made out of potatoes contrasts with the Art buffs who are both the crow and scarecrow scavenging for any anti-Painting scorn leaving a trail of wealth behind them. You wont ever be rich if you're a Painter, but you will enjoy freedom whilst being responsible for your own destiny. It will also allow you to break free from any Left-wing mud slinging about material wealth too. If you have enough then why deprive some one else from having too much? Obsessing about money is a non-sequitter that does not bring you happiness with or without it. Instead it leads to 'life- lies' that eventually distort the most precious things of life. Surely true freedom isn't looking over ones shoulder trying to out run your self-deceptions and baseless greed for status? As a film once said : "with lies you can move forward, but with lies you can never go back." As a Painter who tries genuinely to charge at the opposition , the lazy and the unquestioning, what better accolade is there but not to be hiding under the skirt of convenience or with the grief of conformity?

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