‘…To me there is nothing more pathetic than an artist who, with his ‘pictures in frames’, tries to compete with pictures in movies and magazines and movies and at the same time tries to keep pace with an enormously free and stimulating abstract painting…’
artist Ad Reinhardt, excerpt from an unpublished lecture, 1943
‘You make decisions about the image and what not, but everything can seem to conspire against you as much as it can conspire for you...painting is the medium, but sometimes you can literally feel like you are the medium between something outside of you and the board (the painting), like you’re the middle ground between one world and another, like a medium in a séance…’
artist George Shaw, excerpt from documentary ‘I Woz Ere’, 2012
Both of these quotes seem to have had a peculiar resonance in the last couple of weeks as I’ve worked on this large seven feet tall painting. I have found it a very difficult piece to realize, and I have no idea what others will make of it if I exhibit it, but I am strangely excited by it. There has been more thinking about it at different stages, than the actual physical act of painting it, although most of it was painted in two long sessions in one day. I have found it challenging despite making many large paintings over the years, just not anything quite like this. Just getting the paint on the canvas took a great deal of will before then actually trying to activate the paint on the surface.
The painting seems to have opened up the work into a slightly different area. Despite its roots being in ideas about depicting the landscape, when I look at other examples of landscape painting, I sometimes feel like I’m not interested in landscape painting at all.
(as ever, the artist has to say the painting looks rubbish in this photo, and must be seen first-hand)