Footprints of paradoxes and contradictions



Painting today is like the lives we live and its sanitized view of nature and all of its sentient kingdom, including us and our selfish carnivorous need for 'essentials'.We have become blase, twee and indulge in 'designer' living, where colour has placated and replaced authenticity by surface replacing substance.Why therefore shouldn't I thrash colour with 'fluorescence'? Why shouldn't I ask how strong do we feel about taking bright colour risks? Why not to go to war against the garish impostor of living life half-heartedly, or even worse, formulaically? Colour is both 'Painting's evolution' and our mortal coil too, so why do we persist in 'dare I eat the peach' when we could be enjoying a mouthful of the fruit of vitality and a tall glass of sangria? Painting is indeed a utopia that has been soured, and its status amongst Art enthusiasts has never been so low as it is today, but surely it is the most salient metaphor of our time? Why has Painting become perceived as more irrelevant and lacking in originality in today's world? Because we are afraid of showing our imperfections and contradictions of painting all our relationships by our 'fingerprint of Art' to everything we experience. Surely this is not simply a very English understanding of the perceived condition of low status of Painting compounded by English reserve and our obsession with hierarchy, but a far wider issue? Yet perhaps a Painter Englisher might be the only person who can truly answer this question because he /she is best placed to comprehend the cultural elitism in the shadow of the YBA's. Or not? You decide.

Perhaps the answer celebrates the contradictions that are very English and the 'other English' - namely the 'open Pandora's box' of English restraint and you get a can of answers that you don't want to admit to because of the force needed to break out of its confines. Oh the joys of being English! This however isn't 'Turmoil Painting', this is recovering ones capacity to explain 'turmoil' , identify with it and transcend it! This is not some hackneyed mock carnival com fiesta over in a flash in the pan but presenting a very layered reflection of life born of endurance, unfamiliarity, great 'discomfort' and an irreverence that would lay low the very best of us!

Here resides my experiment with colour, where it is more than simply a lab-rat occupied by me to indulge,but an attempt to find the tipping-point of when strong beautiful vibrant colour becomes brutal, sharpened on the knife edge of the hideous, a Pravda' of our day, lying to us. I do regret revealing colour's precarious unpredictability whilst bestowing the potential to inflict absolute terror, distorting beauty by repulsion and malevolence.Yet I am fascinated especially as 'Paint's fate' was rejected just as the Cold War was in its final throes, sharing the same fall-out.

But here are the footprints of some other paradoxes and contradictions that guide me to reach why we are where we are with the medium of Painting.

Let me open - up these contradictions for you to judge yourselves.

1.Creative ideas, English restraint 2. New acrylics with traditional oils 3. Classical canvas recycled 3D objects 4. Bright warm colours, dark cold states 5.Naive form, calculated ideas 6. Elaborate design, simple techniques 7. Bold brushwork, painstaking detail 8. Cerebral but the counter-intuitive 9. Open eclectic influences, repetition and de-limitation of objectives 10. The derivative and the unique 11. Harmonious but unsettling 12. Abstract and the figurative 13. Painted flat 2D surface or the Painted dimension busting 3D objects 14. Recycled images and the creative departures from them 15. Negative shackles of finite space, definitive opportunity to harness the unique but previously untamed 16. Evolution of Art derailed by formulistic posturing, but nevertheless offering the next evolutionary step of deregulation of the 'conditional' and the punitive on Painting. 17.A historical dialectic to control in order to offer the release to move forward. Need for ostracization of Painting to be both harmful but temporary for Art to catapult onwards 18. A Random laissez-faire Art world or the need for 'Art govermental' interventionistic? 19. Need for revolution as well as counter-revolution to augment the development and not stifle change by myopic over-personalized prejudice. 20. Recognizing the tendency of all Art to both progress and regress. 21. Recognize that Painting can threaten the status quo or be an irrelevance to it. 22. Understand that the Art world could by-pass all the mega-bucks, the excessive discipline of Art collages etc the overweaning influence of publishing houses and its specialist gallery spaces, the museums etc yet still retain restrictive practices that drown-out the voice of Painting. Why? Because we the general public haven't made our artistic needs clear. 23. The general public have Artistic needs of participation,but if Art is without some educating in a multi- level world,it becomes self-serving and incestuous because and fails to communicate. 24. Art both feeds and reinforces the enlightened and those disposed by society or those pre-disposed by nature to loathe Art.Part of Art is therefore to expect non-partisanship and partial public ignorance. 25. Does the British public find Art relevant beyond simple titillation? 26. Why should Artist's care if they alone seek personal journeys to understanding their world and avoid the world of Essex man? Here's the dilemna:, public responsibilities or personal growth? 27. Logic and symmetry represent both the Patterns of the DNA of nature (The double helix), but nature's evolution only advances through conflict and failure, accident, risk and unnatural pollination to challenge the status quo. 28. But nature's advances aren't necessarily in keeping with Mankind's bouts of irrationality and self-destructive instincts. 29. Could I lionize colour or weaponize it? 30. Current 21st century British view that Painting is a backwater is actually a ruse, an apparent formalistic sacrifice on the altar of fashion that is actually part of a different agenda to test the mettle of the Art market. Painting therefore is generationally re-invoked but is 'meant' to be sport for the pack of hounds to chase the fox, ripping it apart; it is a ephemeral opportunity to 'blood-let' for the Art community, who rely on its public humiliation to magnify their own importance in which new tech is celebrated. 31. AI of the future or 'stone age' Painting? 32. Social Artistic hierarchy or universal communication? 33. Humble 'Whipping boy' or Artistic trailblazer? 33. Avant-garde Paradym- maker casting off over-reliance of form, or ghost of a bye-gone era stumbling in the dark?

You decide whether the above have any relevance to this exhibition, or whether these ideas are to be read as sub-text carved between the lines of my work as 'wishful thinking' or 'over-thinking'? Or not?


© 2019 Stephen Hornsby-Smith

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