Covering all bases and spreading your bets



Mythologizing the mundane, packaging the indigestible, producing,directing and starring in his own' self-voyeuristic pastiche...What? Isn't this what Saatchi would enjoy? Creative whim, happy accidents,whimsical risk taking, didactic nihilism, anonymity averse....This describes an Artist no? This describes Charles Saatchi in his creative destructive intrusion onto the Art scene since the late 70s. He would endorse anyone who would give him his true 'status' of being the creative spirit leading his 'fellow' YBAs.

So what is the antidote? Painting 'local yokel? Self-determination of contracting into a gallery circuit of grass roots, municipal etc?

So, not taking on the shibboleths is a good idea? No! You just might want to change your part of the gene pool, by not being part of the speculation market, and then trying a new route to achieving your goals, both success or neutral to the social whirl; you get to decide. That's all very art college, but what has that got to do with me?

'Marcel Dushamps called Painting a 'retinal' medium that he'd outgrown. Instead he became the father of conceptual Art in the 1920s. But even the doyen of the ready made couldn't resist the calling of the 'retinal' art he once so disparaged. Funny how Artists want to revive Painting as a new revolution to aggrandize their careers when they've already made a big splash!? Fame is an addiction that some can't kick! Perhaps some in the Painting fraternity are more challenging than the 'urinal artist' thought possible. Some want to steal the limelight as Painting revivalists to spite someone else? That just reminds me of weekender Artist's in their 'cosy fancie' Art, making work that is the hair dresser of Billingsgate Painting- - an attempt to get down and dirty by buying fish from the hairdresser 'resident Artist'' with the perm of the Turner Prize. So, Painting is about identity not just about mind-set Gavin Turk? Not about the weekend visit to Tsarist Russian excess or Moses lost in the wilderness poverty and disorientation.?

So what if Painter's are able to depict this decorative lifestyle and glower with phospherescence in your face colour? What about a repetitious palette yet a constant, original, image -making, subject matter that isn't governed by formalistic detention after school methods? What if the Painter had not found his comfort zone but was horrified by his/her ability to not keep up with the plate techtonics of his/her mind? What if Painting as a medium can never be exhausted and that 'authorities' that say the opposite were trying to attract attention to themselves rather than admit the inconvenient truth that they couldn't determine the medium of Painting because they could not control its power tried to kill it off altogether? Why risk their individual failure when they could write it off as the mediums fault?.... Still dressing up the same tired old fashioned yesterday? Hang-on, what is the old fashioned yesterday's but Art authorities who can't paint, so they want to obstruct others who are prepared to take the plunge?!

All Paintings fade, their colours degrade, and they are reprogrammed by a legion of willing restorers. All Painters fail at everything, but the trick is to show that unlike the Art Academics, you don't shift the challenge onto other people. Perhaps like Saatchi academics in the field of Art are not in the field at all, and although I might piss the families that count in the Art world, I still haven't claimed to be part of the 'merry men and women of Sherwood forest who have forgotten how to do the Robin Hood thing to the Sheriff of Nottingham. Or not? You decide.

Indeed, some may argue that if you take digital footprints, and any high tech stuff away from an exhibition there might as well be nothing there at all; in other words the tech supporting the Art work overshadows the work itself that it negates unwittingly the whole message of the exhibition. Psychologically, that is exactly what happened to Painting- it was overlooked because techy stuff, and later new materials were more 'eye-catching.' and therefore more 'popular and therefore more fundable and commercial. Isn't that ironic that the criteria for retinal (superficial) Art was originally seen as the graveyard belonging to Painting, but became eye-catching fodder' gone 'digital'' and 'metal' etc but not as superficial or irrelevant but morphed and upgraded to the First class of 'forward thinking' Instead of the claustrophobia and suffocating minimalism and cabin fever that could have been the bullwork of Art, something happened. I think in part, that the needs of the Cold War outweighed the needs of the Painter. The West had to challenge the Soviets' bragging of how more in touch they were with the technology of the masses through their 'socialist realist art' Painting. So the West spread an infection that attacked the status of the very medium the Soviets were boasting about, by be sympathetic to taking the medium of Painting off the top table. But the Cold War is over guys, or is it? No not against the Eastern bloc but against the North Koreans. Not surprisingly, a lot of Chinese Art works as familiar and offering a hand of 'go-between- diplomacy for the USA towards their North Korean enemies. The N. Koreans trust their Chinese buddies and ,I hope negotiate with the USA at any opportunity, and if Art gives a pretext? Great! But Painting in the West is not benefitting from this exchange.

Political football or not, hostility to 'damning with faint praise' still doesn't give the credit and status Painting deserves. I believe that the human connection of: hand to brush to paints to canvas is by far the nearest clue we have to being human and being humane. It is our very fingerprint that cuts through to reveal the human condition of his/her insignificance and ultimate failure.


© 2019 Stephen Hornsby-Smith

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