In a couple of weeks I am going up north for what was going to be a quiet, cozy weekend. Instead I have a new project in mind: one which combines my painting practice with the elements of nature, at the place I love most.
What is painting today? Why do we still do it? I have never been interested in image-making as part of my practice, but primarily with the materiality. What gives a painting it's value? How do certain combinations of form, colour, brush strokes, personality, and era culminate to million-dollar paintings which people flock to see, or covet for themselves, or study for hours?
A contemporary painting exhibit at the MoMA laments and comments on the state of painting today. In a review of the show, the writer sums it up well:
"It’s not that painting is “dead” again—no other medium can as yet so directly combine vision and touch to express what it’s like to have a particular mind, with its singular troubles and glories, in a particular body. But painting has lost symbolic force and function in a culture of promiscuous knowledge and glutting information."
"Anything attempted in painting now can’t help but be a do-over of something from the past, unless it’s so nugatory that nobody before thought to bother with it," (Schjeldahl, The New Yorker online, Jan 5, 2015).
You can view the rest of the review here.
So, how does a young painter, with little interest in image-making, past or present, but a strong love for painting nonetheless, continue to stay hungry?
My interest in painting has always been because of paint - the substance, the possibilities, the record-keeping, the risk: that is what keep me curious.
My project up north will combine elements of chance, nature, weather, time, and a bit of paint to create a series inspired by and infused with nature. Being intentionally vague here, so that if the project fails and I have to change the course of it, you'll be none-the-wiser.
Materials list, prep work, planning, research are what will give me a tiny bit of satisfaction for these next couple weeks, but my mind is already 4.25 hours north...
Making & co-creating