Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Authentic Jane Freilicher

‘To strain after innovation, to worry about being ‘on the cutting edge’ – a phrase I hate- reflects concern for a place in history or for one’s career rather than for the authenticity of one’s painting.’ Jane Freilicher

This is an good quote by the celebrated American painter that I found personally interesting in relation to alot of my own concerns as an artist. It calls to mind a crit I once had with painter David Hepher, then Head of Painting at the Slade, at the end of my MA in Norwich years ago. We talked at length on these questions in relation to my own painting. One tutor had described it as too ‘Eighties’, which made me laugh, but also revealed how we were poles apart in our thinking and attitudes. I think the language, or languages, one uses is all about an authenticity of intention. I’m aware of many failings in my painting, but a lack of authenticity is hopefully not one of them. In my most despairing moments in the studio it is one of the few things I think can still cling to. Anyway, I really love Frielicher’s own painting and her attitude to making art. I recently read a monograph on the artist I received as a Christmas present. It was a good read, but also contained some really high quality illustrations of the paintings that showed the artist’s deft brushwork and almost off-hand painting manner. She manages this difficult thing really well- a casualness in the handling combined with tight, but not too tight, control. The colour and light in the paintings are superb too, and I think that is almost what the paintings are about. I believe if you can get the light right it can open the doors to much more profound readings of the work. It is something I try for all the while in my own paintings, but feel I too often fall a bit short. It’s a bit frustrating .

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