top of page

Retard's, hobbyist's, scapegoats and derivative yesterday's men?

Stephen Hornsby-Smith

Instead of labeling Painter's of the 21st century as resentful and reluctant to give any credit to other media, the reality is quite different.It appears as though the Art 'establishment' begrudges Painter's of today any status. It is essential to clear the narrative of any doubt that the 'Establishment' in Politics is entirely different from the its counterpart in Art. It is a recent phenomenon that cast's a shadow over the Art world today. But this is not the first and it won't be the last time that Painter's have been subjected to chauvinism.

Impressionism in ( the 19th century version) was originally a term of abuse given by the Parisian Art community to Painter's like Manet and Monet. It actually took American visionaries emboldened by their 'New World' to wrap themselves in the flag of Impressionism in spite of European snobbery. The level of insult in the 1860s - 1880s directed at these Painter trailblazers was vindictive and unrelenting. 'Unfinished work,underpainted, amateurish and puerile was the steamroller of Parisian 'taste' being both haughty and ignorant. Today's Painter's are equally condemned as 'has-beens, failed wannabees, retards and trivialists, banging the drum of conventionality like those anally retentively predisposed to reproduce unoriginality. Finally, Painter's are likened to popular hobbyists, recently retired from the real world and anxious to participate in reality TV shows of tokenism(Portrait of the year etc).

Paradoxically the establishment in Art can't see any rebelliousness in 'done it all before' Art, because it remains obsessed with formalism,new technologies, and digitalisation.. There's a new created school of Art called 'The school of Post Painting'. In effect contemporary Painting is subjected to both snobbery and inverted snobbery at the same time. Company men applaud the 'fickle sickle' reaping by the yard. 'Painting' is sold like groceries past their sell by date, even if the Artist is contemporary. Painter's feel degraded and cheapened. These 'lone-wolves' are expected to be Spaniels decorating the trademan's entrance. The Painting market meanwhile only does 'historical' works selling at inflated prices at powerful Auction houses to 'bank vaulter's who are ridiculously rich. Lost to the vault of someone's indulgence, they remain refrigerated Art.

Ironically the once maligned Impressionist's are now the financial dog's bollocks, where as you once couldn't give their work away. One bigotry is replaced by another, it seems as though 19th Impressionism is once again controversial. That's great, but why limit controversy to Painter's of the Past when we've got a contemporary scandal going on here? Enforced Retirement or compulsory re-education is the order of the day here! Apparently I'm actually a 'Painterist or Plainterist or even a Paintourist! Painter's are likened to the Home Guard of 'Dads Army' in Artistic terms.

However, it is this scenario in which Painting is inspired to reveal its determination to define an area of life that compacts the Universe into a singular burst of energy on this constricted stage of canvas where risk being taken is a risk that no other contemporary media takes. The risk is everywhere, yet in this unique position we have nothing to lose but our more fashionable detractors.

bottom of page