I couldn’t seem to restart painting without John Berger ….
‘Ways of Seeing’ research before painting:
Once it was realised that an image could outlast what it represented, its power was evident and specific/subjective vision was valued. This led inexorably to an increasing consciousness of individuality accompanied by an increasing awareness of history.
In addition, assumptions concerning
Beauty, Truth, [Genius], Civilization, Form, Status, Taste etc.
affect the way people look at an image presented as art.
The world as it is includes consciousness, not just objective fact, and fear of the present leads to mystification of the past, causing the tropes above to cause a disjunction with the art itself.
To try to make paintings of ‘psychological and social urgency’ requires (for me still) a rejection of pure skill and an attempt to use the particularly ‘present’ quality of oil paint, so harnessing the inherited assumption that paintings can be meaningful social and personal records as well as the rather exciting notion that the syntax of composition and other facets of the craft of painting can be learnt and used by not followed slavishly. The act of trying to make meaningful, relevant work about how people are (in their social dealings, their remembered values – from family and education – and their appearance too) deserves vital, risky and exploratory ways of making, resonant with this time.
I do still want to tackle the underlying nature of how we look at each other and how painting might remove some of the layers of preconception that can hinder (or at least change) our actual interaction as global villagers.
Very early days …
… an underpainting in black and white leads to a softer, warmer colour simply lifted from the paper of the drawing of the model.
Fine words, not fine art yet: