Meaning & Purpose Chapter 7

Chapter 7 of my research book about the morality and politics of our time as seen through the subjects of representational art is now available.

What kind of culture expresses itself this way?

Social Awareness

Massively claustrophobic, Dana Schutz’s massive Fight in an Elevator bridges this category and the very large next one, in which we see painters working with traditional forms and social awareness. It is highly likely that you can name at least one of the celebrity fights in an elevator to which she refers. This work refers to impacts of technology today, not just the relentless coverage of scandal but the loss of a presumption of privacy. A girl just cannot count on slugging somebody in private any more.

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Meaning & Purpose Chapter 6

Chapter 6 of my research book about the morality and politics of our time as seen through the subjects of representational art is now available.

What might it mean when artists break up surface reality?

Fragments and Instability

The postmodernists speak of deconstructing surface reality, arguing that representations no longer represent anything–that they are a self-generating realm of images, an endless surface with no underlying reality. I am more than likely twisting their terminology to describe the work of painters such as Jenny Saville, Ann Gale, Alex Kanevsky and France Jodoin.

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Meaning & Purpose Chapter 5

Chapter 5 of my research book about the morality and politics of our time as seen through the subjects of representational art is now available.

Can we see what they do?

Powers of Observation

Painters who rely on observation take deeper looks at their subjects, more typically still life, interior and landscape. Josephine Halvorson seems to examine the surface of her subjects at a microscopic level; Catherine Murphy, Susan Jane Walp, and Gillian Pederson Kraag represent intensely personal approaches to painting perceptually.

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Meaning & Purpose Chapter 4

Chapter 4 of my research book about the morality and politics of our time as seen through the subjects of representational art is now available.

What makes representational art matter? Technique or content?

What We Are Painting

I have examined the content of 21st -century representational art to ask what the choice of subjects tells us about what artists think is important. I am disregarding questions of technique or style to look at the possibility of creating meaning in our fractured age. While the increasing popularity of fantasy and imagined worlds as subjects for representational art suggests they offer meaning to many, I have never saved any such image for future consideration, so these subjects are not discussed.

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Meaning & Purpose Chapter 3

Chapter 3 of my research book about the morality and politics of our time as seen through the subjects of representational art is now available.

Have modern ideas rendered representational art obsolete?

What Happened to the Traditional Subjects

Scientific rationalism is one of the reasons cited for the demise of traditional beliefs. Joseph Wright of Derby captured many gripping scenes of scientific exploration in the 18th century, such as An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump, 1768, shown today at National Gallery, London.

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Meaning & Purpose Chapter 2

Chapter 2 of my research book about the morality and politics of our time as seen through the subjects of representational art is now available.

How was it that art in the past claimed moral authority?

Traditional Subjects

What painters represented in times past quite certainly indicates what was considered important. The mere survival of these works of art testify to their lasting might.

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Meaning & Purpose

What can we learn about the morality and politics of our time from the subjects that representational artists choose?

I presented the paper titled “Meaning and Purpose: Morality and Politics in 21st Century Representational Art” at The Representational Art Conference 2015, an international cultural event in Ventura, California. The event included presentations, demonstrations, and trips to five gallery exhibits.

Michael Pearce and Michael Lynn Adams founded the conference in 2012 to provide a place for the discussion of the philosophy and practice of artists in the universities, colleges, ateliers and private studios where the techniques of the old masters are still taught and used in the present day. California Lutheran University Arts Initiative presents the conference to focus academic attention on the work of traditionally trained artists, to identify commonalities and to help to understand the unique possibilities of representational art.

I am now publishing my paper in serial form on my blog. You’ll see a new chapter each week as we delve into this subject.

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Ring Them Bells

 

On this Easter Sunday, I give thanks for what it is in the human spirit that welcomes the concepts of resurrection and reconciliation. I made this painting with my dedicated models Annie Jefferson and Mona Reeves during a period of a year and a half. In serious moments, we talked about the Emmanuel AME massacre in Charleston. William Faulkner wrote “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past,” in his Southern Gothic novel, Requiem for a Nun. Our American past we must actively shape with hope into a better life today.

Now for somethings completely different

Playing around drawing in ways that I don’t usually is giving me a chance to have fun this week. I am working in the Croton studio with my friends Eddi Fleming and Kristin Costa. I drew the drawing on the left with ballpoint pen on Fabriano Artistico rag paper and then applied washes of two acrylic colors. I pressed a sheet of Strathmore pastel paper over the wet washes, and then used that sheet for a drawing in graphite on the right.  Since the color printed in the reverse, I reposed Kristin looking the opposite direction. The Mitsubishi pencils are so rich that all I needed were the B and 2B.