Keeping It Real
From your neighborhood artist.
The scuttlebutt with some critics these days is that painting is dead, Conceptual art has taken over the scene now. I am tempted to be negative towards it. I wonder who would want a sectioned shark imbedded in an acrylic block in their living room or lobby. Who needs a banana taped to the wall, right? But inside I have a little chuckle and I feel better. So it does have some value. I just think that conceptual art does not compete with painting. These are different discussions.
I did a community show this weekend. The event was super fun, and it gave me time to think about painting’s role in society apart from the modern art discussion. It was in St. Helens, put on by the Columbia County Art Guild. There were plenty of primitive works, but I noted that the paintings of flowers, birds and other stuff were never negative. They are medicine. The opening itself was about neighbors. It was like; “Oh, you did that? that’s really cool”. There was a harpist playing too. It had a real county fair vibe about it.
The little show was well received, and several pieces at the exhibit sold. I had some tiny paintings of houses painted from paper maquettes and had great fun explaining to folks what a maquette is. I had two of the HO scale houses in their glass cases on little shelves right there with the paintings. Check out Thomas Hart Benton. He would do a plein air drawing, build a maquette out of plasticine, and do a painting from the maquette. I placed my little scenes on a pedestal in the sunlight and painted the models plein air. So how real is that?
So, no, painting is certainly not dead. But it may have a different role in society these days.