relevance

passing through
“Passing through”, Gouache and pen on paper, August 2010

passing through (unfinished)
“Passing through”, Acrylic on canvas, July 2010, abandoned for now

I haven’t been painting for a while.

The question of relevance has been hounding me– what good will my paintings give to the world?

I read this letter by Robert Genn about the bigger questions that artists are faced with, and I was hoping to find an inkling of an answer from him, but like any teacher, he just throws the questions back at us:

…while there are a million directions you can take your art, there’s the old tug between relatively neutral subject matter and the possibility of meaningful social comment… Art can indeed say something, and when you combine your craft with your better mind, great and lasting images are likely to arise. This, in a way, is our job description, and it’s a tough one, especially these days when the visual arts are in competition with newer creative technologies like film and video. For those who take the challenge, there’s a tangible reward that’s right up there with science and religion.

He follows it up with this: “A painting doesn’t have to have a profound meaning. It doesn’t have to ‘say’ a word. We fall in love for simpler reasons.” (Harley Brown)

But also this: “A painting without a message is wallpaper.” (Sam Adoquei)

Hay.

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