Sunday, 20 November 2011

UnMasterclass 45

 Painting has increasingly become split between an innocent and naive practice and one that is knowing; one that relies and draws upon it’s own history, as well as other factors that mediate the message. Painting has had a journey akin to that of the dissemination of the written word, from the letter presses through large scale newspaper production to today’s digitisation through the web and the kindle. The word has remained pretty much the same through history, however it’s delivery as altered in many different ways. Similarly painting has transferred from the pigment embedded in the plaster fresco, through oil paint based easel paintings to the vast acrylic paint stained canvases of Frank Stella and Helen Frankenthaler and now through the digital painting of artists such as Tim Head and Joseph Nechvatal. Ultimately these painters are creating paintings, just as writers create the written word. However the way they do this and the materials on offer are constantly changing. With this expansion of the means behind the painting message comes a more knowing breed of painters/ing. As Peter Weibel discusses in his essay, Pittura/Immedia: Painting in the nineties between mediated visuality in context; “The painting has become a subject supposed to know. A knowing painting knows its own history, just as it knows its artificial surroundings.” Weibel argues that painting’s message is changing with this move into other art medias (especially digital), away from a trajectory of painting history, towards that of the picture being the point of departure. He cites painters such as Gerhard Richter and David Reed who reference the photographic or cinematic as equal references to painting itself. Painters are today influenced by other forms of image generating media as much as the lineage of painting. This is perhaps, and in UnMasterclasses eyes certainly, becoming a fact. What we have to be mindful of as a new generation of painters emerge that use the language of digital information is that painters such as Richter and Reed are technically skilled. They are fully able to embed these other contemporary references to painting in a knowing way that continues within the lineage of painting. The contemporary painter must learn to be able to respond to their times, as any good art does, but also not lose sight of the fact that they are also defined by the history of painting and their art must stand up to both mirrors of criticality. The latest UnMasterclass is here

No comments:

Post a Comment