Tag Archives: Art history

Art

Proposal for large art works + the aesthetics of failure = Prediction

Organic & Synthetic (2002)

 

Link to final Proposal

Original Thoughts

Materials

Organic: Commercial oil based paints mixed with animal fat and traditional oil paints. Emulsion paints mixed with traditional acrylic/watercolor/gouache paints

Synthetic: Commercial and domestic self-adhesive vinyl tape, cut with a commercial computer based design/cutting program,  Signlab v.4.95 software package.

Prediction = the aesthetics of the system + the aesthetics of failure = Prediction

I would find it very easy not to produce any visual work. The aesthetics of painting, the total confusion that it is still in, has devalued this important medium. It is no longer acceptable to follow Duchampian traditions and say that context is a primary factor. To claim something is art is simply not good enough. Duchamp said that a painting/sculpture died after about 40 or 50 years. After that they become Art History. What will historians be saying in 40 or 50 years time?

Unfortunately the problems of fragmentation and confusion that exist within more traditional art practices, such as painting and sculpture (in the broadest possible milieu) are mirrored in new art practices. Within these technological and new media categories, diverse concepts and imagery has been lumped together to form a hodgepodge of non-related methodologies and artworks. What is this direction?

The Changing Language of Prediction and Explanation

There are artworks1, which as art could be mistaken as science/technology. Such works rely on networking, robotics and systems. (You could include Internet works in this category.2 )  When viewing/understanding Artworks that are based on networking, systems, and communities how do you subconsciously and verbally criticize the aesthetic or concept?

The true aesthetics of a system is not the peripheral. The aesthetics of the system is in the understanding of its detail. The true aesthetics of the system incorporates the aesthetics of failure, a system that is reliant on external forces or structure will always have an element of built in probable failure. (This is a prediction.) The only way to achieve total reliability is to have a closed system, this however discourages growth and system expansion and thus becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The element of failure is important to the success of a system. (A non-homogeneous system, whose terms and relationships are not constant, allows language to break up, to stumble over the rules of its grammar, by necessity it has to respond radically to other linguistic components, creating a new linguistic order and syntax.3 )

The aesthetics of failure, a crucial component of a system, is not Auto Destructivism; Auto Destructivism is a process where machines (or systems) are built to fail. The parameters of Auto Destructivism include various practices, including painting with acid and fire. The aesthetics of failure is not total destruction; it is the disappointment of failure.  The aesthetics of failure, although contained within the framework of prediction can either engender invention or depression. The disappointment felt by painters when the image in the mind is far greater than the image physically in front of them is in reality an exact position. To produce a painting that is better than the image of the mind is to give rise to a product of catastrophe. (To achieve exactness by design and skill is to reach a point of exhaustion and famine.) It is therefore acceptable to assume that an artist that is categorized as a genius has in fact failed more successfully than one who is mediocre.

The challenge that an apprentice required to become a Master is no longer necessary; it is possible to create visual and non-visual works of art without scholarly wisdom or practical experience. However without the foundation of knowledge and skill, the aesthetics of failure cannot be understood. New Media embraces, by its very nature, everything that is innovative. The skills that are required are in many cases prescriptive, an understanding of the aesthetic of the system is not necessary and therefore the ‘imagery’ being produced is becoming predictable, driven by the limitations of the system’s software and not the imagination of the Artist.

New materials and better manufacturing techniques have resulted in more intense colors. Commercial paint, even though Jackson Pollock used it (and I used it) in the last century, has developed into the preferred paint medium for some painters. Technology has also provided us with new exciting materials and different ways to use them.

I am using vinyl, a material I have used commercially, as my preferred medium. The “plasticness” of commercial vinyl tapes, their tactile and glossy qualities make them vibrant and alive; when juxtaposed against natural materials or organic shapes and colors they become a contradiction, a complement, more intense and more synthetic……which is similar to Frank Stella’s work during the 1980’s4 . I have carried out experiments with this vinyl material; I have cut and slashed it to destruction, to gain a better understanding of the inherent stability of this medium. I have rejected the possibilities of cutting out images and shapes by hand…..the aesthetics of the system is more important.

I have subcontracted out my creativity to a computer stencil cutter… this is what I did with machine lithography in 1978/79….I have given the computer cutter more responsibility. The lack of total control is maybe a step towards originality? The fine line that exists between the system successfully (in a commercial sense) succeeding to producing a perfect graphic that can be understood as signage and total failure…where the machine totally becomes auto destructive, is microscopic. By understanding the computer program’s limitations I can exploit its weaknesses. By working out paintings on the computer I can tease the system to fail, bringing into play the aesthetics of failure.

Basic Prediction

Horoscopes in newspapers are based on star signs and birth dates; these predict the day’s events. These predictions are based on the laws of probability and chance. You could read your daily horoscope and make the prediction into a self-fulfilling prophecy, you could go out and find that ‘Tall dark handsome man’ or go on ‘A long journey’. Alternatively you could read your horoscope late in the evening and interpret the day’s events and adapt them to the mystical words. “Yes I did meet someone important today”. The interesting thing about prediction is that you could meet a tall dark handsome man, go on a long journey and meet someone important and never read your horoscope. Does this mean the day’s events were not predicted? Similarly these rules can apply to system-based art and painting.

 

Title: ‘Self Portrait in Red’

The image above is a proposal for a painting whose width is 20 metres and is derived from the source material below. Costs to produce approximately £10,000 to £12,500.

Politics = the aesthetics of the system + the aesthetics of failure = Politics

The billboards around Cuba proclaim Revolution; the heroic gestures of Cuban heroes symbolize the power of Revolution.  Cuba is still in a politicized state of revolution, a religion of the state. Che looks like Christ.

 

Dr. Alisha Kaliciak who I met riding with vaqueros in Cuba took the photograph above. The text on the proposed painting has been written by her and scanned into my system. She is in many respects the creator of the image and her handwriting will sign it. My role is to program it into the system and to make the final formal choices.

 

The red background will be painted in red paint (see materials above) with techniques that are employed in traditional sign writing. (This is knowledge I gained from working for a sign writer in Exeter)

Prediction: the text will be difficult to read, through the system distorting the handwritten quote.
Prediction: the iconic image will be difficult understand, through the system distorting the small graphic.
Prediction: the finished image will not function as a billboard.

Notes: The image of Christ is in fact a metaphor, the finished image should be viewed as a self-portrait. This head of Christ is a design that I adapted for commercial use within the monumental memorial trade (it is based on an American design) and has been copied by system suppliers (for the stone industry) and used as a ‘stock design’ within their software packages. As an artist, who believes in open networks, I am proud of this little iconic image even though I cannot claim its originality. Likewise the use of handwriting is not a new idea for me; during the 1970’s I was fascinated by shorthand and the power secretaries had…understanding a simplified language. During the 1980’s I won a design award (The Crown Memorial Design Award) for the most original memorial design. The design was a simple block of black granite with the signature of the deceased on it.

Link to final Proposal

Disclaimer

This text is subject to prescriptive/predictive rules of a system aesthetic. This text has been written on four computers, two of which are on a network and two of which are stand-alone systems. Each computer is running a different version of a Windows operating systems, (Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME and Windows XP). The text is written in Microsoft Word, three are using version 2000 and one is version 97. Three versions are operating with an English dictionary and one (v.2000) is using an American/English dictionary. This text has been written in two locations, my homes in Bromsgrove and Woolacombe. This text has been subject to 100’s of system protocols, however the structure of the text is predictable; each computer has its own subtle nuances and offers syntax and grammatical recommendations. I am not completely responsible for this text, my systems are. My main contribution is editing and using the cut and paste facility. If I had attempted to write this in its finished running order, it would have taken me longer to write…my spelling is appalling and my grasp of grammar is minimal…the written word is not my preferred method of expression. This text would not exist without the existence of the system.

This page has been created in a non ‘web-prescriptive’ manor. The use of Times New Roman font is a positive reaction to the web’s political and aesthetic values. I do not wish to be cool and use prescriptive methods of page creation. I have written this in ‘Word’ (one of the most frowned upon web-prescriptive creative tools) and not Dreamweaver or any other trendy formulaic program…..I do not want to be a part of  the web’s system of aesthetics. (However if you look at the ‘source’ the urge to fiddle with the code was irresistible. This was done in notepad. I have made this page unstable.)

I do not encourage the use of pirated or hacked software.

Art for sale

Frank Stella – but I use Commercial oil based paints mixed with animal fat

This painting was painted around 2002 / 03 by Peter Bright (aka This Window)

I hadn’t seen this painting for nearly 10 years – until yesterday

Materials

Organic: Commercial oil based paints mixed with animal fat and traditional oil paints. Emulsion paints mixed with traditional acrylic/watercolour/gouache paints

Synthetic: Commercial and domestic self-adhesive vinyl tape, cut with a commercial computer based design/cutting program, using  Signlab v.4.95 software package.

Prediction = the aesthetics of the system + the aesthetics of failure = Prediction

Background:

Upon moving to New York City, Frank Stella reacted against the expressive use of paint by most painters of the abstract expressionist movement, instead finding himself drawn towards the “flatter” surfaces of Barnett Newman‘s work and the “target” paintings of Jasper Johns. He began to produce works which emphasized the picture-as-object, rather than the picture as a representation of something, be it something in the physical world, or something in the artist’s emotional world.

Many of his works were created by simply using the path of the brush stroke, very often using common house paint.

Frank Stella. (2012, May 25). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 05:22, May 26, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Frank_Stella&oldid=494387687

I was using vinyl, a material I have used commercially, as my preferred medium. The “plasticness” of commercial vinyl tapes, their tactile and glossy qualities make them vibrant and alive; when juxtaposed against natural materials or organic shapes and colors they become a contradiction, a complement, more intense and more synthetic……which is similar to Frank Stella’s work during the 1980’s 4 . I carried out experiments with this vinyl material; I have cut and slashed it to destruction, to gain a better understanding of the inherent stability of this medium. I have rejected the possibilities of cutting out images and shapes by hand…..the aesthetics of the system was more important.

@optimiseduk – Original Thoughts = keywords?

Is it acceptable to splatter words on a page and call it optimization?  Organic and Synthetic Link to final Art Proposal… Continue reading →

Biography News

Bring back the Cold War

Young men from opposing political viewpoints expand scientific and exploration boundaries for political kudos – but they were exciting times. Bring back the cold war – the world was a safer place and more interesting.

The Cold War was the period of history from roughly between 1946 and 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States and its allies. Although the chief military forces never engaged in a major battle with each other, they expressed the conflict through military coalitions, strategic conventional force deployments, extensive aid to states deemed vulnerable, proxy wars, espionage, propaganda, conventional and nuclear arms races, appeals to neutral nations, rivalry at sports events, and technological competitions such as the Space Race.

Cold War. (2011, December 2). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:43, December 4, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Cold_War&oldid=463632314

Work in Progress

Triumphant Adventure

ARTIST + S T A T E M E N T …

Русский: Конверт Юрий Гагарин Москва 1962
Image via Wikipedia - Mail Art?

The political and ideological polarity of Russia and the USA during the cold war (retrospectively) makes an interesting starting point for a new project. Apparently there are rumors that the early days of the Russian space program were not only motivated by military and scientific advancement but a search for a new world to populate – to put citizens of the Russian Republic on once they had realized their ambitions of ensuring immortality. There was no God in Russia (officially) and the USA put their trust in God, both were chasing the same dreams, immortality and history. Gagarin achieved both by becoming a God (hero) in his own country and the rest of the world – all gods die young.

As an 11 year old I watched the first moon landing in 1969. I was mad about everything to do with space travel, I would read anything that was about rockets, cosmonauts and astronauts. Later in my life I shook the hand of a man who shook the hand of my all time hero Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, that was for me like touching history, if only secondhand (excuse the pun).

I was rummaging through old boxes of stuff and found the newspaper cutting of an astronaut on the moon – yellowed and faded – it still makes my heart flutter. I wish I’d been to the moon.

 

News

Gerhard Richter – Top 10

They say that wine matures with age and without doubt the later paintings of Gerhard Richter are his finest. His ability to travel through art history and create and respond to his own history is remarkable. To learn skills and then have the confidence to morph them into another methodology is a difficult thing to do. The paintings Cage (1) – (6) 2006 are without doubt in my top 10 list.

  • Confidence trick from the blog of Veronica Henry
    At the weekend, I went to the Gerhard Richter exhibition at Tate Modern. I was blown away, not only by the richness and variation of his work, but also his methodology: sometimes planned and ordered, sometimes random – sometimes both. It made me think long and hard about the way I write, and it occurred to me that the one quality all his work had, however it was generated, was confidence. Here is a man who knows what he is capable of and who is not afraid to experiment and take risks, but at the same time is very definite about what he has to say. Whatever image he ends up with, his voice is always loud and clear. It made me realise that confidence is the most important item in the writer’s toolbox. With confidence, you can write what you like and how you like, instead of slavishly following a formula. Confidence, of course, comes with experience, but the danger there is that one becomes complacent instead of pushing the boundaries. Something that Richter was clearly never afraid to do. And that is when genius emerges: when talent and confidence and craft combine with risk.