Situations of Paintings (Text Fragments):
This project started out in the paper I wrote at the end of my BA (Hons) in Fine Art. I have decided to upload the paper in the format of the separate fragments it was written in. They will be uploaded to this page every couple of weeks. This allows me to have a space to publish the texts along with more fragments that are to be written in the future.
These fragments will aim to outline and dissect certain situations in which paintings can and have been known to exist in. The form of written fragments allows for a truth or situation to be diagnosed within specific descriptions, narratives and vocabularies that speak for their own ideas, concepts and references. And whilst being formed and discursive as separate entities from one another, they can still be collectively representative of this overall discussion regarding the position of painting in society. The word ‘terse’ is quite often used when discussing fragments; a sparing use of words, language and direct perspectives to discuss a subject. This is very relevant to the process of creating a painting, in correspondence to examining the specific, decisional moments that pull together a certain picture, these can be considered fragmented themselves. Whether abstract or figurative, the process of painting is both decisive and critical during the manifestation of its contents; what is to be included and what is not.
‘Finished’ individual paintings can then be viewed as fragments themselves. They have very specific contents, ideologies and histories within them; they hold their own actuality as they diagnose particular subjects and concepts in their own diverse aesthetics and ideas. This fragmented form of writing will be acting inside this topic as individual paintings do within the ever-present and inevitable perspectives and histories that exist alongside any discussion concerning the act and existence of painting.
Fragments (as in painting and in writing), once they accumulate and build upon each other in their certain formats, their comparisons, juxtapositions and perspectives tend to form new readings and conversations that open up more questions and perspectives that can be applied to other different contexts and readings of certain situations.
Painting has more variations in its visual format than ever before in our contemporary society and its involvement with society is very careful and unique, this is because of its rarity. Paintings were once the only known form of imagery and pictures there could be; whereas today, they exist alongside and within a diverse majority of other forms of imagery: printed, digital, virtual and moving, to name a few. So rather than discussing and critiquing painting purely in the traditional sense (its contents and various formalities), the discussion will be centred on the lifetime of certain paintings; how they exist before and after their conception, amongst and within other forms of imagery and contexts in today’s society.
I am personifying the existence of paintings as a form of life because of the extravagant range of narratives and reactions they create amongst people in society. They emotionally effect people by delivering empathy, mystery, metaphor and sublimity to the viewers they encapsulate. Made by humans for humans, the technique and time spent making a painting is incredibly personal to the painter; painting itself can very much be seen as an embodiment of life-force.
This study is required in our critical understanding of paintings, because of the numerous situations within which we come across paintings in this current time. Whether an artist, a critic, a cynic, a romantic or a person of ambivalence, paintings are a form of imagery and make their way in and out of people’s lives in many different ways. From Art galleries to private collections, from televisions to social networks and from reproductions to stories of complete destruction.
These situations can be so unique and potentially transformative for the viewer’s interpretations and critiques of painting, that they should be seen as equally paramount and imperative in discussion about a painting as its content.