John Thornton, the Philadelphia artist and videographer, recently added a wonderful video to his fabulous portfolio of videos on art and artists. This video is about the current show curated by Scott Noel at the PAFA. I recently posted an article about this show but this video give an insightful background and discussion about some of the ideas behind the show. Here are some transcribed lines from video: (thanks to Anthony Lombardi for parts of the transcription)
“The hope is that this show makes a convincing case that there needs to be a space preserved in contemporary art for the practice of painting from observation, the search for poetry in a direct and unmediated experience of looking. This particular activity is getting more and more marginal, at least in critical debate. There are very few critics or thinkers about contemporary painting that are much invested in defending the idea of direct observational response could be an interesting premise for a life lived in art. There are plenty of painters who feel this way, but it can be very frustrating when there is very little critical discourse that encounters the activity.”
“There is plenty of figurative painting being done today but the primary inspiration for the most highly regarded contemporary figurative painting is referencing media sources by the use of photography video and film.”
“There is also the very strong culture of visual appropriation which looks at all visual utterances as essentially equal and uses all available visual sources to synthesize or collage new visual images whose primary interest is the advancement of visual drama or narrative. The principal (in observational painting) is less pre-meditated. The ambition of the painting is to be before nature and to find in response a meaning that is not known in advance.”
“Poetry issues from an encounter rather than from an intention. Working directly from nature can unlock an imaginative response that is categorically different than that which is obtained by painting from photographs.”
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