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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Lowest Form of Painting

It's interesting that in discussing preferences for one type of art over another and the tolerance we try to show even those types of art of which we are not fond, there is one type of painting that seems to be almost universally rediculed in nearly every art circle in which I have ever circulated. I have even dabbled in it a few times (five or six paintings I think) and displayed these much-maligned works amongst my other paintings. The reaction at one show I recall in particular was that I was asked to REMOVE them from my display. They were not obscene, the subjects were not in bad taste, they made no political statement, and were technically quite competant (in my humble opinion), certainly on a par with the rest of my work. Moreover, they were actually more difficult to do than most of my other work.

There is a certain historic precedent for such works. Paul Gauguin is said to have done some of them, and may, in fact, have invented them. An entire country actually seems to have them as part of their cultural heritage. Yet no gallery I have ever known would be caught dead with such works on their walls and very few artists would admit to having tried doing even so much as ONE. We have all seen them, perhaps secretly admired them, maybe even have one hidden away somewhere in the deepest, darkest reaches of a back closet. What is this dreaded painted scourge on the art world? Why, the velvet painting, of course.

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