Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thoughts From TRAC 2014: Part 2 Unofficial Art

Rembrandt Painter in Studio
So where does today’s representational painter fit in to this post modern art world?

Nowhere, apparently. According to the values that define Postmodern art, we do not make art. Don’t despair, we can still make work, it's just called something else, and that something is kitsch. Before anyone becomes offended, makers of kitsch are in good company. Robert Storr, now the dean of Yale’s School of Art, once named Andrew Wyeth “our greatest living ‘kitsch-meister'."

Wyeth Spring
As Jan-Ove Tuv explained in his presentation titled "Kitsch as Superstructure for Representational Narrative Painting", the values of postmodernism are non - objective, ironic and unemotional, making use of distancing objectivity, and innovation.

Kitsch, as defined by Keynote speaker Odd Nerdrum - is not the kitsch that we shrink from, meaning art that is in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but art that employs mastery of technique, combined with narrative, romanticism, and emotionally charged imagery – all of which are taboo for the postmodern artist. As a philosophy, the Kitsch Movement as Superstructure is based upon personal experience and is humanist in nature.

Odd Nerdrum Self Portrait in a Tree Trunk
Another term that has been suggested by Alexey Steele is Novorealism:
“Novorealism addresses the capabilities of evolutionary developed human sensory systems as opposed to technologically based expressions. Novorealism has opposite priorities to those of 'official art'. Instead of chasing novelty it strives for authenticity, instead of glorifying ugliness it contemplates beauty, instead of prescribed irony it searches for sublime, instead of detached objectivity it engages the personal, instead of craving shock, it strives for greatness.”

What is needed now? What stops representational art from becoming kitsch – and now I am referring to the other kind – the one that IS the art world “no - no"? In a word, authenticity.

Although I don't remember who said it, this stayed with me, "One must paint each brushstroke as originating in the heart and moving straight through your arm and on to the canvas."

 "You should be able to go to art with the burden of your life." Roger Sruton

Friedrich Winter Landscape


Kathryn Hansen said...

this is definitely a post to think about!!

Katherine Kean said...

Thanks for your comment, Kathryn. Although I'm not in love with the "k" word, I think most artists are not, I feel liberated with the idea of not having my work grouped in the same category as the distancing, ironic work.

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