Wednesday, 22 May 2013

On being vulnerable
This post was going to be about Realism. 
But now its about all kinds of theory that I'm going to go ahead and pretend I understand.

Two of Jeff Koons' Sacred Hearts, reproductions of 'banal' objects, of which I'm fond of
 exactly for the ideas that it mock
From Still life 2010
25 x 35 cm, Acrylic on Canvas
The closest thing I have made to a Sacred Heart

I watched a lecture about Post-modernism, I had hoped it would simply be about contemporary painting, (which was sort-of the title) but it proved pretty interesting none-the-less.
I seem to have managed to narcissistically psycho-analyse it all to make sense (instead of learning valuable things from the lecture)
My paintings are all meaningful, sentimental, and symbolic, even though I don't use that as a selling point. For all intents and purposes it is Still life, and as such you can read into it whatever you wish. But it is never without meaning. I really love conceptual art, but I have felt guilty for a while about my work not being terribly thought provoking, and therefore might fall into the 'pointless' category to many contemporaries. 
But when viewed from a post-Post modernism perspective it almost makes sense. 
Post modernism was very much a monumental exercise in sarcasm, pointing out the flaws of modernism. It was critical, cynical and very ironically mocked the supposed sincerity of modernism. I think. 
In the late '90's and early 'naughties', I was into the 'alternative', punk and hardcore music, and later that became metal. We were part of the local 'scene', going to shows every weekend, dressing the part, thinking the part. And while we were Christians, we were angry Christians. Which makes for confused Christians. And like the lecturer also said (he was into punk) at a stage, after a couple of years, you tire of being angry. And that's where we are now. We want to bypass the sarcasm, and once again cultivate human virtues that we care about, love, hope, faith, beauty, sincerity. But "it's hard to be sincere without coming across naive and sentimental" to quote him.

Jeff Koons - Balloon dog
I absolutely love these balloon animals, I would paint one any day, and while people
would possibly think it was an homage to Koons, it would more likely be out of pure childishness.

And that is where I found myself. I think the guilty feelings of being angry lead to a sudden about-turn, and I now find myself overly sentimental. I recently finished two tiny paintings, still lifes with buttons, seen from above. And I finished it and thought it's quite realistic, the colours are very desaturated, and I like the layout. But does this painting matter? Will people understand, or do I have to add a complex title explaining why it's important, why its emotional. Because I'm afraid people will think it has no meaning and therefore is just a painting of some buttons. Which it is! But in this case, these buttons come from a jar my mom always had by her needle-work things, I would often upturn the jar and sort through the different buttons, try to find similar ones, or sort them by colour or number or button holes. The buttons we either left overs from finished garments, or recycled from thrown-away garments. Some were from my dad's navy uniform, some from school uniforms, some from clothes my mom made us when we were little, and some were so old that we didn't know. In my mind, because there's such a strong connection to my mom, and because she has a large family in which there has recently been a lot of sickness and death, the buttons somehow came to symbolise those lost relatives, and lost time. Which suddenly turns into quite a vast concept, and one quite personal to me. But does that matter? Or is it just a still life with buttons and a complex paragraph for a title? 

The point I wanted to make was this: I'm not afraid of being overly sentimental, even if people do see naivete as a bad thing. I'm willing to make myself vulnerable, and I promise to be sincere, I'm just not always sure that it will be believed, or understood. But I think that's okay. Because it comes from a good place, I don't have to apologise for it, it is what it is, whether people see it as real, ironic, or just still life.

As reward for reading all that, a picture my brother snapped of the Absolut Art Gallery front, featuring 5 of my paintings. Which I'm particularly proud of, more so than I probably should be!

No comments:

Post a Comment