I am reminded this weekend of the critical discourse necessary for art making. I am struck by the superficiality with which some artists, who consider themselves practitioners, talk about their work and its place in a culture. I am reminded of this especially when i do have the opportunity to speak with an artist who is very serious about what they are doing and the place/effect/contribution of their work in the contemporary discourse. This then reminds me of what it is i am interested in doing through/with my work and it reminds me that those who have not had the art making experience i have had fall flat in their critical thinking skills. They never go deeper than the surface of the work ( literally and figuratively), the practice of painting (or name your discipline here) is not about making pretty pictures that people purchase. Yes, there is an element of that – however that is a small part of the equation and an artificial one at that.
To express one’s self visually is about a language that needs to be practiced – a deep investigation that takes a lifetime. Conversation about the practice is important from the perspective of achieving a deeper level of understanding about the work. Few are capable of this investigation because they really do not care enough about the practice of art making and its long powerful history.
What is at issue here is respect. Respect and understanding of numerous generations of innovators before this time who made tremendous contributions to the field in the areas of material and technique as well as theory and philosophy. They contributed to the way people see the world in which they live.
I am writing around the point, here, which is that few people are capable of engaging in a critical discourse about the field of painting. Much conversation is fluff and opinion. No consideration of theory or history. It’s a pain in the ass to witness how few people actually think about what it is they are doing in their studio.