the selfish painter

You know, I've been thinking lately. About painting. And painters. I'm really tired of a specific type of painter.

A painter needs more than materials and their own ego to create anything worthwhile. There's a painter (stereo?) type who uses painting. It becomes a form of self-worship and admiration. Maybe he is not aware of his hubris, but if his method is questioned or critiqued, it is as if you are questioning a religion. He is a painter who paints in circles; never evolving because he is stuck in a method and over-awed by what he can make fall off of a brush. It is a misinterpretation of the pursuit of the Sublime.
This painter feels like everything he creates is sublime. I have no argument against paintings approaching the sublime. But without proper understanding or meditation, and questioning of the self-as-artist and painting-as-object, the painter fails to grasp sublimity. "Sublime" is just a really sexy word that you can find appealing and want to repeat over and over about your own work. Who wouldn't want their work described along the lines of Rothko, among others.

They hear these words thrown about in critique or where ever-
sublime, artists' gesture, expressionist, Genius with that capital G
And because they fail to investigate further, everything becomes a happy accident. Sure, great paintings can be made. Good compositions can be stumbled upon and repeated without a real understanding as to why the eye really likes certain shapes in certain places. Interesting color interaction can occur. Let's take color though. You might not need to understand rods and cones. But look at a goddamn color wheel. Learn something. Attempt to understand the media's history, in as many dimensions as possible- culturally, psychologically, chemically, globally, personally. Otherwise the painting is just an exercise in... what?

Then again.

Maybe a painter's intention is not really that important. Will the average person walk into a home, an office, an airport, a museum, see art on the wall and say, gosh, that's beautiful, where can I buy a print? Maybe the selfish painter is served well by art being a commodity.


Captain Yesterday said...

This reminds me of 'a camera is like a gun.'

Moniker said...

Yes. Absolutely.

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