Wednesday, June 23, 2010
So, I’ve been quiet here because I’ve been busy in the studio. I’ve started some new paintings and have not been looking at too much of other people’s art. My new work is lumpy and awkward, and is hard to make, but I'm gnawing away at it anyhow.
I recently had a conversation with an artist friend in which he said he was bored of artists/students questioning what it means to make a painting now. (In his defense, he comes from the position of feeling skeptical of painting’s continued relevance, which is cool. I feel skeptical about it too sometimes.) At the time, I didn’t really take up the other side of this coin, and the conversation moved on. However, I was thinking about this later, probably while I was working on a painting. Why do we need to continue to question painting’s legitimacy as a vehicle for artmaking? Haven't we been wondering about this since photography was invented? Yet I ask myself this all the time and seek out the commentary of others on the subject. It’s like we need to undermine ourselves before we get down to work.
Since there are so many media options for art making now, especially so many that are cleaner, maybe faster, and much easier to disseminate to a large audience, I suppose we ask this question as a kind of reassurance for ourselves about our choice to paint. By asking ourselves “what does it mean to make a painting now?” we are consciously engaging with the history of this ancient medium. We choose the richness of old over the wildness of the new. It seems like there are restrictions and freedoms and wonderful discoveries to be made down each road.