Painting Diary

The fundamental uncool…

I don’t like goodbyes very much. As such and for many of the same reasons, it’s also hard to like hello’s.

I’ve written on and off about painting for a few years- never quite sustaining past the point of a year or so. At art school these things are easy- criticism and heroism reek strongly at every studio corner. The sentiment to write is strong, and your list of enemies runs hundreds deep. Most of these enemies by default are the cannon of art history and your most immediate contemporaries- probably in the form of washed-up professors and recent grads turned art-stars.

Later on, I tried again while in the midst of living an artist life in a kind of transitory purgatory- spending the best part of four years doing various artist residencies and projects- trying to comment where I could on the things I saw in between. Most of it was about painting, because fundamentally that’s the thing that I enjoy making and taking about. The problem of course is that so much of painting isn’t really about painting at all- it’s about a whole lot of other things; people, power, ego, politics, and money perhaps. ‘Enjoy’ is a dirty word of course- it denotes an unseriousness that makes it easy for people to dismiss.

Enjoying is also deeply uncool. Enjoying also has very little to do with power, ego, politics, or money. And yet it has a lot to do with people…so at least in this sense there is always hope.

Somewhere along the line painting also became uncool again. I think that it was happening just before the economic crash when painters were being seen as cash cow’s representative of the scenario playing out. There was a new run of recycled relational aesthetics galloping alongside that seemed to seek to provoke what was happening in the economic climate- and it did, probably so well, that after the crash painters seemed to be fairly maligned. Of course, that’s one history. And history tends to paint a simple picture.

But I know that somewhere out there is Dave Hickey trying to prove me right. He’s running through a museum being chased by an Anish Kapoor on top a plywood box. He’s probably using a Schnabel for defense, because after all, those Schnabel’s are fucking solid piles of shit.

So here I go into the fire. This time may be different. Or maybe it won’t.

I’m out like Dave in the late oo’s.