Re-engage don't lose range


Stephen Hornsby-Smith

Re-engage don't re-read the same page! Don't do the eternal burn when there's something more to learn ! America is a continent of evangelical self-transformation where your destiny can be 'screwed-up or fast tracked' by yourself ! So why wouldn't you want to paint with your spiritual '11th finger', (the brush) to explore paint to the canvas (or 3D object) to get as close as you can to the finger-print of cultural self-transformation?


Life is grasping the flow through us via the medium of 'Paint' to recall our ancestors and educate our successors ! There's no better contact than the ambition to elevate ourselves in to reach-out to 'Michelangelo's God' in the Sistine chapel' ! Painted Ceilings were a reason to rejoice in the belief that the Renaissance was closer to God's will, closer to his creation and were seen as open vaults to heaven on Earth, or at least the promised land of the garden of Eden ! In fact Renaissance Art aspired to 'crack the lid' of human limitation and not restrict it. But the Art top table today has done exactly that, relegating the medium of Painting in our micro climate of our present day existence in the UK.


Why? Why not? Today, 'If you've got Conceptual Art as often self-ironic why not flaunt it'? It would need 'a bit of controversial separation (mind the gap!)between what the public think or expect and the work itself, or where the work is displayed etc or an Artist who personally shocks the public and an upgrade in technological science to sweeten the deal...Bobs your uncle !!! Only that is like saying John Lydon is still 'Never mind the bollocks' when he's nearer butter adverts today ! Hate to reverse the charges here, but isn't Conceptual Art too....old? I mean Marcel Duchamp would be 'turning in his urn or grave to see you guys 'still doing things that he gave up years ago' ??


So let's here's what our opponents say :

Why does the medium of Paint ignore the formula of Conceptual Art (CA) when it has become so passe itself?

Surely we are not sitting opposite each other but competing for the same Artistic Zeitgeist in which Painting isn't evoking anywhere near the same response or relevance ?

Why are Painter's ignoring the market?

Why be a loser when you can still piss-off the same people and make a living out of CA ?


Interesting set of questions. OK, let's start with the obvious :CA is 'Cold Art' that dehumanizes the Artist and the public. It's pseudo permanency is stifling its inevitable decline. It is prejudicial and arrogant, complacent and self-advertising..It is 'shock glamour' and plastic Art and over-reliant on digital 'metal'.It has become Art on Tap, Art by App. It is often referring to Marcel Duscamps derivative of the past and obsessed with the instantaneous and the immediate. But its worst Aesthetic crime is that it does not need the human condition in its 'over-production' and its craving for mass appeal'. Where is the doubt, fear, frailty, inconsistency, decay, love, passion, etc? Moreover, why does it have such a delimiting brief? Where are our human sins, virtues failures and brash strokes to reveal the silent Painting of life that riots with colour that is never risk averse? Is it folly to reduce Painting to form alone? Isn't Painting the air vent of freedom and not sanitized 'air-conditioning'in comparison ? Does novelty rather than originality begin with visual sensitivity? Isn't CA therefore lower in the pecking order, but has richer clients? Truly, the answers to these questions are individualistic and unique to all of us? Why not embrace the contradictions of Art seen through Painter's contribution? When will the CA walls of the Chernobyl come into play with all its toxicity ?


The Artist cameo

CA Appeasement albeit with state of the Art scientifically advanced tech does not represent the whole of the Art world. So why camouflage CA wilting by its Artist individual antics? The Artist doesn't need notoriety, infamy, or bragging rights, to being avant-garde, tip of the top, vanguard of the people,clinging onto a security blanket?!!! It is neither the cult of the Artist nor the 'occult' of making passive/aggressive sublimated hang-ups determine the Artist's practice. No one wants to prettify with moronic vase and flowers 'bottle of wine Art' when the process of Art requires a life-long commitment and not a caption to express it ! Artist's are different because they never 'retire', they never stop, Surely the crucible of self-transformation by failure or by redemption is always an constant risk that CA doesn't share.? How could an Artist give up when his/hers cycle has not been fully experienced!!?


Why should Painter's be ''slowed down' by having to fasten up or reduce their out-put? Who or why should Artist's be judged on ones productivity levels and work-rate? Why such a fixation on the instantaneous ? Why get bogged-down by form issues when form is just another perspective amongst other considerations ? Why revolve around slow self-transformation by public acclaim? Principles not form are our 'technique' in spite of heavy-handed Art Historian quasi-legalistic disdain from over-qualified 'distinguished academics' attempting to sound as authorities but only issuing 'condescending and authoritarian' self-preoccupied negligence towards the medium of Paint. Indeed, degenerate belief in castigating the Painter as a contemporary of Art orphanages (nearer Dickens than today) rather than 'on-message Art colleges' has propelled us all into the line of fire where we dare not stare Paint in the face because of the ordeal and excommunication that it will cost us. We share a world where we are already Art refugees in our own backyard where the climate of change at the very top Art table isn't progressive but one of a reversal that is running amok. Painting isn't yesterday it is tomorrow, and today it is our job to have to make that connection. Put it this way, how is it possible to fit the Universe into such a confined space and then display it to the public? Avoidance and denial by going on a metaphorical CA bender for years will still not 'get you the Catharsis Art' that you think you are entitled to. Entitlement has never been a sustainable idea, but Paint has always been a resource that can be extracted to make Art, and transcend it. The tools to extract Paint are the high tech and modern materials at the Artist's disposal, but they are just the scaffolding and not the Art work itself ! So the only levels that prevent Art by Paint are our human limited ambitions and low expectations; why Paint an outline when you can bring it to life? These are the ebbs and flow that are our frontiers where 'simple disputes over media' will never be conclusively resolved............but isn't that the point of Art? To explore what makes us tick in spite of what we may discover about ourselves??!! In post Capitalist post Cold War Europe, the 'West' and the 'East' need to learn how to co-exist and mutually encourage; but I suspect that will not be the blue-print for Art world.......yet!


© 2020 Stephen Hornsby-Smith

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