Wednesday, 9 April 2008
Link to a post on Dennis Cooper's fascinating blog featuring work by the artist Brendan Lott. At first glance I dismissed this as being dull photorealism of the kind that I got thoroughly sick of seeing done badly during art school. However, seeing the description of the working process does lend these paintings a whole new layer of meaning.
It also brings to mind this essay on 'pseudo-modernism' that I found whilst trawling links on my del.icio.us bookmarks.
'I cruise peer-to-peer file sharing networks, like Limewire, for people's snapshots. There are thousands of them there, constantly changing, as people unload their pics from their camera to their shared folder, (often by mistake, I think). I download 1000s of these images at a time and look through them. I pick out the rare one that is beautiful. In a group of 1000, maybe I'll save one or two. I then send that one in an email to a group of painters in China, pay them with PayPal, and they reproduce the work in oils and send it back to me. ... For me the digital snapshot is something entirely new - photography has been around for a long time of course, but it has always almost always been in the hands of the professionals or (mostly male) hobbyists. Now every teenager has a cheap digital camera, with a super sharp lens, high resolution and fast shutter. They document themselves in new ways, I think. Most of the time they are mundane and uninteresting, but if you look hard enough, you can find real beauty, often by accident. The China thing is just me reacting to the global marketplace, and how most artists/critics I know just assume it is bad thing. I'm saying it is a wonderful thing, and that real beauty can come from that too. Chinese kids went back to the art schools in droves in the 80s, after the cultural revolution, and they studied painting in an old fashioned way, compared to how it being taught (or not taught) in Western schools. Nobody knows how to paint like this anymore, except maybe John Currin and few others. Also I think photorealistic painting is subversive now in the way abstraction was 100 years ago.' -- Brendan Lott