Sunday, April 26, 2009

I've been pondering....

Its been an interesting 12 months for me, with all sorts of dramas and testing decisions which have all led me to question myself, why I paint and what I paint about. I've revisited much of Art History, poured over current contemporary art exhibitions, magazines and web-sites, found myself questioning how the young artists are using so-called modern deliveries of ideas. I regularly read the financial papers, I have been watching the rise and fall of the economies of America, China, England, Japan and India. I think its important to have a big picture of history, as well as what is going on in the current global psyche, and the evolving culmination of human endeavour. I do find it disappointing that in a time where information is so readily available, that so many are ignorant of, and even more sadly do not care about what is going on around them. I am interested to watch some of the young 20 somethings produce what I can only describe as spare of the moment art work, regardless of its delivery, i.e. electronic media, installations, or a photo of an everyday banal event. I feel empty and hollow, and it seems just so long since I've been to see a well considered exhibition, that moves me to have some emotion, whether it be anger, happiness, nostalgia, empathy but rather, I often hear myself saying, ho hum that was banal and boring. Artists like Peter Booth who painted his doorway series in the 1970's, which remind me of the monoliths in Stanley Kubrick's movie, "2001, A Space Odyssey". These paintings are larger than life size and when you walk up to them, they are like a mirror and a void at the same time, its like a meditating monk or deity , attaining all knowledge or enlightenment and yet at the same time having none at all. These works deeply moved me.

Amida Nyorai (Amitabha Buddha), c.1650, Kyoto
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

"Voids, a Retrospective", Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris Feb-Mar 2009

On the other hand the exhibition shown at the Pompidou centre in five rooms, earlier this year, which celebrated 51 years since Yves Klein first exhibited blank walls at the Galerie Iris Clert in Paris in 1958, called "Voids", leaves me empty and in fact represents how much of contemporary art makes me feel today.

I think that as a society we are losing our way, that greed and apathy will be the worlds downfall. I sense a revolution is at hand, that people will once again stand up and be counted and will speak out. It is interesting to note that the art world has been so corrupted by greed, by the notion that the latest thing is the best thing, the bigger and more expensive it is, the better it is. Art Dealers have fostered the just out of art school clan, as their ticket to ride and in turn on the back of the attitude by the young twenty somethings, that the world owes them something, the notion of why can't I have it all, I've seen in the media how I should be living. I feel that much of the video and photo-based art today is part of the quick make a buck, make me famous ideal. The work can be like a one trick pony and I wonder if these artists will have the stamina to succeed and keep going when their dealer decides they want to promote the next hot young thing.