A biography of painting - part 7

The paintings I exhibited at this time were essentially a summation of that which I had done previously. I was once again appropriating Picasso. Makng personal that which I experienced from the public (cultural) domain. The role of the artist is, in my opinion to observe the world as an individual.

I was interested by the work of the Australian painter Rover Thomas (c.1926- 1998), an artist who had incorporated the aesthetic of abstraction with references to traditional mythology. It was work that I was trying to replicate; replacing contemporary art mythology for his traditional Aboriginal references. Each artist works from the standpoint of a cultural tradition of one sort of another.

Although the decisions made on what and how to paint, are based on a theoretical approach, this is not directly necessary to the appreciation of the work. For me to take a theory or a socio-political position and give it a primacy in understanding a work of art is far too tendentious, which makes the work illustrative. This is not good in that it is a limitation. The art is restrictively bound to narrative.

An art work in a gallery is an object on the wall before which people stand. The art becomes an experience, as John Dewey has it (Art as Eperience, 1934). Redolent within this experience is the moment of its creation, its purpose and its history and culture context.

The Tate gallery [Click here]

In this set of images I look at people viewing art and consider how they are integral to it.

[ Click here for art exhibited in 2009 ]


Rover Thomas

Pablo Picasso 1908