I read an article earlier this week that really resonated with me. Now, I don't agree with everything in the article (but, when has anyone ever agreed with everything someone else has written?) but I do believe that the author has a point regarding the dilemma of contemporary painting.
Here's the article:
The author is basically asking contemporary painters to both work within the "tradition" of painting, while creating new works that have relevance to today. (This is not nearly as easy as it sounds!) Many painters working today are simply rercapitating "older" ideas: from "Classical" and other "realist" periods, or from Cubism, the Abstract Expressionists, Pop, etc, rather than working to develop new ideas.
Of course, it's one thing to try to develop new ideas--and another to actually develop them!
The author knows this, and seems far more willing to forgive artists who strive for something new--and fail, than artists who don't even try, and instead "retreat" into established (and long since "over") art-historical periods.
Now, I know what you might be thinking at this point, and you're mor than justified in doing so: Keith, you're a fantasy artist who used to paint airbrushed science fiction pin-ups, and now you make weird spider paintings! What the hell do you know about avant-grade, cutting-edge art in 2013, anyway?!
In all honesty, perhaps I don't know very much at all. I certainly haven't created any ground-breaking art, so far.
Few artists, of any age, genre, or period in history, ever have, or ever will.
But, I think it's important for us all to know, and consider, what we are doing, what it means, and why.
It, upon encountering the subjects this article discusses, we say "fine, but it's art-speak nonsense, and/or not for me", then so be it.
I posted a link at Wet Canvas, in the Oil Painting forum, since that is the forum where most of the "serious" painters at WC hang out. The first couple comments were snarky, and a later poster commented that the article was "over my head".
The thread has now been removed (not even "closed", but actually removed; not only can you no longer add comments, you cannot even see that the comments--or the origianl post with a link to the article--thwt had been posted already!)
Again, whether we agree with these types of viewpoints about painting, or not, I think it's important for artists to be aware that this "level" of thinking about art is "out there", and to give it some thought, befor accepting or rejecting it.
Wet Canvas apparently disagrees, so the participants in the Oil Painting forum--most of whom will never seek out this sort of thing--now will in all likelihood--never run across it again.
Thwt isn't the end of the world by any means, but I nonetheless believe that it's a shame.