Friday, 25 March 2011

UnMasterclass 12 and 13

A double hit this week as last weeks UnMasterclass failed to upload, so the programmers re-scheduled to make this double bill.
Today we had a group crit in the studio and I chose to put UnMasterclass up for discussion, which prompted a few items of thought that are aired here.
Firstly it was raised about the potential for it being seen as either an amateur or a send-up of the amateur by viewers. I cannot of course control what the viewer thinks, but it is my intention to do or be neither. My intention here is not to teach or to pass on any form of expertise with the UnMasterclass, more to raise how painting can be learnt and how it has the potential to be un-learnt. Almost my sole way of learning painting was from looking at paintings in galleries and working out how they had been constructed. I am interested how, in the age of the internet and ipod shuffle, painting as a technique is increasingly being passed on to painters through reproductions as opposed to in the flesh. I am simply showing, no more, no less.
It was also raised about how the paintings are neither too good or rubbish enough to truly raise a position. My answer is I try my best, but within the limits I have set myself. They must be quick, they must be small, they must be done in one go. All of these things will mean that I can only fail to be faithful to the original. Curiously as we talked I realised that maybe the most successful UnMasterclass so far is the copy of Fontana. With this I truly misrepresent and misunderstand the original painting and perhaps most potently reveal the flaws of the reproduction over the original. It is also the UnMasterclass which I like least on a personal taste level.
It was also said how watching the films was strangely compulsive. I say strangely as I cannot imagine anyone watching an UnMasterclass all the way through having been the creator. But comments today suggested that there may be a sense of anticipation in waiting to see what happens at the end, to see what I end up painting. I see this almost like 10 minutes of the Jaws theme without the punchline of the shark attack, more like it swimming off into the horizon. But others appear to think otherwise, which is pleasing.
We also talked about how the work should be shown, other than on the web. To me it makes most sense to be seen on the internet, it is open to interpretation and open to any audience; democratic in many ways. However although I have no other answers for display, it would be a good challenge to try to present it in another setting, in many ways the gallery becomes the hardest place for display. In the studio I should it both visible on the laptop and projected on the wall, it looked pretty good on the wall, no rational thinking as to why.
We talked of other thing
So if you have managed to read this far then please fit the 2 posts  for this week, last weeks version  of Sittow's Katherine of Aragon is viewable here and this weeks UnMasterclass is the failed attempt of painting Turner's masterpiece (every quality of the original has been sucked from this one, so please go to Tate Britain instead) is here
Of course if a gallery is open and is near you, then pop your coat on and go and see some art there instead.

Sunday, 13 March 2011


To view the film I made for Endeavour exhibition please follow vimeo link here


Joseph banks Conservatory Exhibition

March 30th – April 3rd 2011

This Exhibition encapsulates different processes and forms in relation to the botanical collection at the Joseph Banks Conservatory. All the artists taking part have made work that reacts, comments or relates to the site that the exhibition is situated within.

A collection of Lincoln based artists have announced a group exhibition titled ENDEAVOUR. This will be held at the Joseph Banks Conservatory from March 30th to April 3rd 2011. It will incorporate different methods and practices to create work relating to the space and includes ice sculptures, video, sound art and origami, among other mediums. All these pieces are connected by them being specifically made for the site and they all relate to the area it is situated in. This site specific exhibition will be an interesting encapsulation of what is happening within the vast collection.

The private view of the event will be on the 30th March starting at 2pm ending at 4pm. The show will be open between 10am -4pm for the rest of the dates.

Artists, who will be taking part, include Rebecca Barmby, Sonya Barnett, Andrew Bracey, Rob Britt, Thomas Cuthbertson, Rob Garniss, James Hall, Rose Mower, Lucy Price, Veronica Proud, Thomas Cuthbertson, Rob Britt, Veronica Proud, Rebecca Barmby, Lucy Price, Rose Mower, Sonya Barrett, Rob Garniss, Josephine Sams and Paul Stewart.

The main aim of this exhibition is to demonstrate different representations of the physical forms in the space and metaphorical ideas in relation to the plant’s origins. Some of the work will look at the literal space as an oasis or adding hand crafted flowers in and amongst the plants. Other forms will be slightly more conceptual and look in to how Joseph Bank’s original Endeavour Voyage effected the countries he visited. Also ideas affecting the continents themselves in relation to their own particular history.

Friday, 11 March 2011

UnMasterclass 11

Welcome back to another episode of UnMasterclass and this week the twin icons of a masterpiece from the Metropolitan in NYC and the forefather of America are taken on by the UnMaster in his studio. Little of the majesty of the original painting or the great George Washington are retained. It is strange how whatever it is that makes painting still a vital thing (for me anyway) is unable to be replicated through digital means and this is something being proved over and again here at UnMasterclass as everything that is good about the original paintings we paint from are lost when we come to paint them ourselves. And furthermore any qualities that might seem apparent in the paintings you see online are only there on the web, in reality the paintings truly are awful. So in one way the reproduction of the original paintings diminishes their power and conversely heightens the quality of the copy.
Michael Borremans has said " A Painting is an object with a complex character, and because of the historical dimension it is impossible to treat it impartially. In our reality, a portrayal is also always a reproduction. Jean Baudrillard said that painting had become pointless because we live in a world in which paintings are simply reproduced.Yet they are paintings that are among the most widely reproduced pictures. It makes you think." Well we at UnMasterclass are not adverse to thinking and have come to the conclusion that maybe painting is pointless, so if that is the case then we might as well paint other peoples paintings, which is surely more pointless than painting on it's own?
Anyway if you have some time to kill and you cannot pop along to Central park to drop into the Metropolitan Museum of art then pop along to see a reproduction of a painting of reproduction of painting here

Friday, 4 March 2011

UnMasterclass 10

It is strange the difference between intention of the artist and interpretation of the artist's work; and further to this the response of a painter and a non painter to UnMasterclass. A friend of mine who is an artist emailed me in the week about something and as an aside at the end closed it with "also watched the first of your unmasterclass video, (albeit without sound -no speakers) looks to me like you are keen to show off your painting style and methods, which for someone like me without any in roads to painting, was interesting to watch." It was strange to read; not only does UnMasterclass (from my perspective)  seek to show off my painting style (I am replicating a famous work of art in a very short space of time) or to show off my methods (in many ways UnMasterclass in sending up the programmes of Bob Foss and the like). 
However I started to think about it a little more. Was my friend right, just from the wrong perspective? Among the reasons UnMasterclass was started was to comment on how in the present age we increasingly look to the internet to garner information, and in this age there is a trend to turn to the internet to 'research' painters and paintings. So the reproduction becomes to have more currency. And in this currency the old adage of how a painters learns from painting is beginning to be lost. And much like many painters who saw Mondrian in reproduction sought to make perfectly straight lines in their painting as a result (it has always amazed my how painterly Mondrian is) in the past, now all sorts of results are happening from learning from Bob Foss, reproductions on the internet and so on. I am somewhat nostalgic for this past of learning from the paintings themselves and so UnMasterclass began. To show the lack of understanding of a painting that can be gained from not seeing the original. But maybe to a non-painter who has no interest in learning from paintings, then UnMasterclass can be interesting from the point of view of showing off paintings style and methods. I pray to god all painters do not share my friends view.
This week a beautifully subtle Henri Fantin-Latour painting is unaccountably re-rendered as a faux expressionist un-masterpiece. Unfortunately the original painting is in a private collection so I guess in this case we can only stand in front of reproductions of it, So go watch this UnMasterclass here at the blog for the first time or probably better to go to or alternatively go to a real gallery and see a proper painting.