07 September 2011

Rethinking my approach

Yesterday, I had several extremely good conversations with friends. One was part of an ongoing conversation continued yesterday by an impassioned response to this post.

I've been thinking about 'good pictures', pictures generally, in terms of the properties they all share. My friend slapped me around the head repeatedly (virtually) and said (I'm paraphrasing), 'You fucking idiot, the properties of good paintings are different from the properties of good drawings and good photographs and good digital things [for lack of a better term]. For example, good paintings have good paintwork and layers.'

I am a fucking idiot. I've been deliberately conflating painting and drawing, but my friend is completely correct. They should be treated separately as things in their own right. As I said, 'I've been focusing too much on the blurry edges and not paying enough attention to the clearly distinct areas in the middle.'

Alberti defined the good painting in terms of three things. Piero adapted that definition and changed those three things in subtle but highly significant ways. I want to have a go at another reformulation, after modernism.

Of course, we shouldn't really be worrying about this shit. That's allegedly what the art historians, theorists, and critics are for. But they seem to treat painting as indistinguishable from writing (because they got all silly about writing being a visual symbol) and so are completely fucking useless.

I mean, honestly, when I first toddled along to Massey a couple of years ago, I was handed a copy of Foucault's 'Death of the author' and told, with a perfectly straight face, that wherever it said 'author' I should read 'artist'!

I hate the written word, deeply and passionately hate it. It was invented by the priest-kings to oppress us.

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