Artist’s Journal: NUMBER 68

Cave Art 1Artist Statements!

Really? Have you ever read one – all the way through?

I’ve tried to read the artist’s statement at every opening I’ve ever been to. And, with one exception, Lasse Antonsen, never make it to the end.

Not only do I read all of Lasse’s statements – I ask for a copy! But here I am preparing for my next show(16 October – 7 November 2015) at Colo-Colo in New Bedford and I just can’t do it.

Why? What’s the purpose of an artist’s statement? Want to know about my art – ask me or read these journals.

I’m still a point where I just paint for some still unrequited need. I don’t title my work. My work has nothing to do with my state of mind when I am painting.

I believe I have the ability to write and write well. A few grammarians may argue.

When I paint, I don’t thing about the painting but rather about painting.  Think of it.

Painting was perhaps the first form of human communication.  Who spoke? Language was still developing.

But painting was something else.  Okay, for the record, when I say painting I mean any intelligent marks rendered in the dirt or scratched on a wall with a burnt stick and, eventually, applied pigment.

Ever wonder why the earliest paintings were far more sophisticated looking?  It’s because language was in its infancy. As language developed paintings become cruder.

I think everyone painted. Making marks conveyed information.  It was used for instruction and for record keeping such as in tracking the sun, the moon and stars.

And, eventually, the better painters were sought out.  Because of their skill, these individuals became mediums of sorts.  These intermediaries became tribal shamans.

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.

Pablo Picasso

So, from my point of view, painting is very closely associated with spirituality.  As we evolved from wandering tribes in to city-dwellers, art was both reflective of the collective and of the system that governed them.

Art was public!  Mostly sculpture. Painting was mostly reserved for decoration as far as we know.  The Egyptians, however, used painting to record events and to describe the lives of their kings.

Art, specifically painting, came to the front with the rise of Christianity. The guilds controlled the economies of Europe.  The wealthy merchants were memorialized.

They also commissioned work for churches in an attempt to save their earthly souls.  The bigger the Church and governments grew, the larger the paintings.

Then a curious thing happened.  A movement arose to counteract the neo-classicism of the day called Romanticism.

Coupled with the Industrial Revolution and the rise of Western Capitalism, painting both devolved and evolved.  It devolved into a visual mush controlled by both church and state.

These long-established tables were turned full round with the advent of the railroad and prepared painting pigments in tubes.  Anyone now could paint as evidenced by the so called: Sunday Painters in France.

I’m going to continue this ramble in the next Artist’s Journal…



Posted on: 05/10/2015, by :
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