Andre Wallace

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Truly terrible painting

So this week the press has numerous reviews of the Rauschenberg exhibition at Tate Modern. Laura Cumming, calls him America's Leonardo which is a bit much. One thing that emerges from the show is the bleak contrast between Hirst's empty presentation of pickled animals and the transformative effect of using that famous stuffed goat with tyre even though it's tacit meaning still eludes us fifty years on.
She writes:  "This show opens up like the codex of his mind, constantly churning up new ideas, combinations, intuitive visions; celebrating our physical reality. Time may pass – clocks tick, buildings collapse, calendar pages count down in his art; there is even an x-ray of his own body in a late collage. But paint glues it all back together, like a novelist’s narrative. What is it like to be here, Rauschenberg asks, first to last, what is it like to be here and alive? " Except that the images are silk screen prints for the most part and not painting, - there was a time when every art student copied this technique and every school kid drew with solvents.

Meanwhile over at the Saatchi Gallery we have a show called Painters Painters. Never was a show more inappropriately named for what we have here is some of the most execrable attempts to paint an image it would be possible to find. We learn that that the artist, Michael Moloney is no less than 55yrs old. How on earth did he get to that age without realising that what he does isn't worth doing? No! How? How?
It's not just that his efforts wouldn't attain a GCSE grade, it's the fact that he still believes there is milage in truly dire incompetent painting which any amateur adult would be thoroughly ashamed of. But he's not the only one, the only painter here of any skill or worth is David Sale, and he has been around since the ark. Post truth generation Painters painters! what we have here isn't painting, it's pure dribble. As Waldemar Januszczak remarks, Saatchi has always had a weakness for very bad painting, as if that were an excuse for exhibiting pathetic efforts such as these. He writes; " - practitioners of bad painting kid themselves that by releasing whatever dumb nonsense comes into their heads, they are being revolutionary and free. What they are actually being is inept." Incompetently mocking the whole notion of art would be more accurate. Totally tiresome and passé.

As a contrast he says that the New contemporaries exhibition is honest by comparison to the Saatchi efforts, and all the painters are better, truer and more authentic than the pretentious Painters, painters. Purely because they are still trying to paint, one supposes?

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