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Have the wheels really come off the bandwagon of 'Painting'?

Stephen Hornsby-Smith

Have the wheels really come off the bandwagon of 'Painting'? No, not at all.

We should celebrate 160-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 3D painting), Kandinsky revolutionized painting with his abstract paintings in the 20th century,so, so what? You've invented the wheel, and then does the world stop?! i think we must arrest the cliche of revolution and counterrevolution in Painting, and instead recognize we need to debate, argue and grow, by our ability to paint today's issues whilst having the benefit of evolution in Painting already under our belts. The 'Big Bang'has happened and evolution has started rather than finished.

At the high end of the purchasing of Paintings it has often been the case that Paintings have been 'stolen ' from the community that it serves by 'confiscation Art', where private hyper-rich individuals who put the work immediately into storage in secret vaults, preventing public access. If this isn't a rumour then it is the ultimate act of nihilistic 'display'. But even the most hardened business man has often donated highly prized personal collections for public view. This is the generation of 'Painting ownership' that intersects between the individual and the public in a way that often is overlooked. This indicates to me profound understanding of the beauty and heroism of Art, and not the era of fat cheques paid after a 'cattle-market auction' in which only a limited few can enjoy.

Hands-Off! We don't need the ambulance chasers or headliner's, the re-born, the renaissance ironyers, glitter glamour, didactic decadent, graffiti headfunders, child wunderkinds,poverty or brokeers,revolutionaries, counter revolutionaries, PR factories, and Professors of drawing who become revolutionaries, giving birth to Art ers etc Cliche groppers and hangers on need to be told:Hands off Painting! We are image changers( no, not 'shape changers'), a mirror and a black mirror, the forgotten critics, the people who put their names and reputations in the line of fire. We don't deputize and we don't defer; let us open-up Art through vigour and participation. We're not fashionistas, nor grumblers in the shadows, we're not 'provincial' but we are part of a community that we intend to serve for as long as we can. I'm not interested in grubby politics i'm interested in commitment.Painting is my passion and I have Painted 'professionally' for over 30 years- and I'm ready to do 30 more.

I haven't always painted semi-naive, semi-abstract paintings, and it took a while to understand the power of colour that doesn't hide from the challenges of life and form that easy-peezy lemon squeezy conceptual Art has side-stepped. I have not fallen under the spell of 'pick-up your Art qualification and follow' someone else, and I hope my most recent work stands up to the rest. It is true that symbolically I have wanted to transform canvas prints that were oil painted originally but have been transformed into a different 'acrylic' outcome altogether. They do have an organic quality perhaps because they often defy the draining process at which the print is produced, and is at its most unsympathetic. At that point the 'cold download' and self plagiarism are self-destructive enough to disturb the whole process; artistic lows demands the transformation or risk utter failure of the whole project. Mixing contexts is both fun and rewarding, and like wise I have tried to reclaim other media by Painting their 'objects and processes- I believe that they are far more than simple 3D objects and they do renew and re-orientate Painting. The way I see it is that I have and will fall into a ditch that's waiting for me, but that ditch could have great wealth in it if mined properly.

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