top of page

The West was meant to deconstruct itself, but instead it watched the Soviet regimes come unstuck

So, the West was meant to devour itself by Soviet counter-structuralism, but instead of self-deconstruction the West reinvented its terms for the Cold War and reincarnated a relativism that thrived at the expense of the Soviet system! How? It couldn't subsidize or validate the Soviet ideological rigidity borne out of a fundamentalism of the 19th century, but it could tolerate the spectrum of the West by its multi-layered pragmatism and actually embraced all of its human limitations! Furthermore, the West upgraded its own 19th century philosophical free marketism into a more sophisticated and diverse late 20th century model that also confronted the very inevitability of entropy that all the Soviet mudslinging couldn't compete with! Some say that the West created in the 1950s the finite version of Structuralism to lure the USSR into a trap only to leave ideological minefields in its wake that the Soviets missed to their ultimate cost, but that wouldn't account for the open nature of Western democracy that was often in crisis that it wasn't always in absolute control or could anticipate the roller-coaster ride that often placed it in great peril - but that was the beauty of Western values that could stretch to many extremes, paradoxes and contradictions without being pulled under by them. This plausible deniability completely side-blinded the USSR, which didn't know how to find a solution to defend its exposure to the West. Hard cheese!

So, the West did not stew in its own 'depravity', and what was once permanent became impermanent, what were barriers and frontiers evaporated especially after the Cold War as fast as the ex-Warsaw Pact countries could join NATO and the EU. The cultural ramifications in the post-Cold War period revealed the pace of the East's catch-up or ketch-up from Van Gogh to Jeff Koons was in lightning fashion too! It was a post-Soviet Art land grab of purchase by patriotic fervour of modernism of the Russian past; the tidal Artistic Russian identity resperated in global Auction houses by the Russian new money oligarchs that enjoyed money making investments like they were just spreadsheets! Perhaps some conceptual Artist may re-create an exhibition of literal spreadsheets hung like Paintings with payment slips of purchases as the artist?

Perhaps these new borders of Art acquisition would anticipate the elephant in the room (Painting), where Britons voted for Brexit to patrol its own borders rather than all its far and new and old neighbours? This coincides with the re-emergence of the medium of Painting in the UK, not from the Art top table but from an increase in interest in Practitioner uptake for many Britons who also want to control their own self-expression to embrace their own identity by the medium of contemporary Paint. Such image-making can only be ground-breaking that contrives to confront the party line of the Art whips that readily deny Painters the same recognition and courtesy compared with Conceptual Artists. Whilst Technology and techniques expand their 'monopoly of clientele, unlike Painting that remains solid, tech will always face the laws of inevitability that new tech and new digital Art will become old-fashioned and obsolete to make room for the next new thing! Put your reliance on tech and you'll have to spend more time keeping-up with the Joneses that any artist would want! 'Looking over your shoulder Art' is not my cup of tea! But Painting needn't be just an alternative, it can be beyond having to wait for tech to catch-up with your ideas, when Painting doesn't have to be at the centre of the Universe when it can be part of a far more ambitious solar system. But when form has dictated to Painters that the limits of abstraction to the figurative is now a closed cul-de-sac for no new ideas, I firmly disagree! Sure, we have mapped-out our Painting solar-system, but we know next to nothing about it, so why restrain image making by Paint by dry arid information? When do artists stop at an amber red or green light when there is so much to learn in every direction? Let tech inform, let science discover but let Artists visualise! Don't Scientists quarrel, don't technologies advance but it is Painters who immerse themselves in vision and redeem Art for explorative value that uses the map of all boundaries, frontiers and barriers like some Columbus night sky to navigate and bring new life to all subjects?!! We are not going to fall off the edge of the world but we're going to land somewhere original. In this sense of old and new technology being antipathetic to Paint isn't it odd that Painting remains the common denominator that provides diversity of media spin-offs and not just original in its own field?

Surely it is the risk of failure that is so intimidating that also puts Artists off? There are so many ways to lose your way by changing even a tiny part of a Painting that spoils it? Isn't this precipice of a Painting working and its failure is so knife-edged that we may actually be more capable of failure because of the most rudimentary and primal of all possibilities that we still can't charter into safe harbours? The risk factor seems more terrifying because of the very precarious combination of eye to hand to brush to canvas that at any stage can betray us? But it is alive with risk, and it is a medium where all the strategies and technique in the world never compensate for the Painter losing what he/she is desperate to safeguard. So, it is a medium of failure but not one of an absolute nature.

If we humans only use 20% of our brain, what percentage of our eyes are we using? It may be that as we evolve, we will develop organically to enlarge our sensory ‘ammunition'. We can already travel in time when we see stars in other galaxies that died millions of years ago today via telescopes in or around our orbit. Their past becomes our future and our present, much like our Painting could be on terra-firma but measures our grasp of the wider subject matter from our own porthole onto the multiverse, focussed yet diverse literally and metaphorically! By colour and light is our gravity, fast and instantaneous as a Jackson Pollock, but as painstaking as a Vermeer, wild as Willem De Kooning as well as pithy as a Rene Magritte. To resolve, restore and invent new ways of image-making by Paint can only be the first principles of Painting, but that human-finger-print of Art will always be ready to synthesize the 2D and the 3D of the 20th century, but Painting will always be a reminder that it can accelerate or hand-break turn, press hyperspace or de evolve and evolve, intimidate or absorb. Is Painting therefore a porthole or a travel wormhole and not a blackhole, but where the spice of Herbert's 'Dune' evokes the same carbon material that we use to transform our world and in the future many others too?

Why do we need to put the medium into the unfashionable brown paper bag that needs to be put into a cultural induced coma? Why not access Paintings ancestral 19th century breakthroughs of 160 years ago to inform today? Moreover, Modernist Painting of the 19th, 20th as well as the 21st centuries are all completely individually unique but different from each other, so why wait for international crises to disturb the calm safety of the spring rivers flowing almost too slowly to the sea? Couldn't Damian Hurst's 'pickled Shark' refer to Lenin being artificially preserved too? So why must we languish in technology, new techniques and advancements that will soon be obsolete by a new master switch on a new digital extremity? Why play constant catch-up when we could trigger a domino effect not reliant on any artificiality or extraneous gismo but a new self-build of image-making rather than squander our mortal coil on an Art equivalent of an even bigger thinner screen? As the travel advert says, go see the world with and without colour and light and paint your way through what you find! Or not? you decide?!!


bottom of page