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Voting Booth Still Open

Official : : It’s been a week since the votes are in, but here, we can all still learn through debate.... and, appreciate some fine art!

Lets spend a few minutes and explore some of the finest artistic candidates in history: painting and content, not politics and rhetoric.

I've included a few examples of how seeing other art encourages ones own growth- at least for me it has. Funny too, how although we may not have even seen the visual expression of another artist, we are surprised how similar the concept and feelings that are portrayed by others when we see a piece of art by an artist after we have created ours; as shown in the sample below of my own painting- where I opened a contemporary book in disbelief seeing an image similar yet different than mine.

Janice Sztabnik

On the Ocean, 2015

Oil on Cardboard Box

23 3/4" x 26 1/4"

Robert Goodnough

Figures on a Boat, A3, 1963

Oil on Board

5 3/4" x 9 3/8"

"The French philosopher Jacques Ranciere has written extensively on the relationship between aesthetics and politics... - the sharing/division of what is visible, sayable and thinkable." (from Aesthetics and its Discontents)

Its a wordy dialogue, so I'm including this brief commentary on the article that Maria Buszek offers :

“Critical art intends to raise consciousness of the mechanisms of domination in order to turn the spectator into a conscious agent in the transformation of the world”, states Rancière, understanding “critical art” as art aware of the politics of power. But, how can we raise the consciousness of the oppressed without becoming reiterative (redundant) and therefore perpetuating the omnipresence of the system, or on the other hand, loosing the “strangeness” of appearance necessary for any claim of aesthetic autonomy? Politics and aesthetics seem to exist in a constant tension of opposites, in which the predominance of one can relinquish the other. So, is there a way to approach art to ‘life’ without loosing the “aesthetic sensoriality” that distinguishes it from other spheres of human activity? The author claims that critical art has to exist within these opposites: its readability and its non-readability.

Overall, we are confronted with a difficult task. Critical art is placed in a middle ground while expected to be significant and aesthetic. The issue is that in this “suspension” interpretation can alway go either way. This “undecidability” to opposing feelings: on one side we feel the art’s full potential is missing, on the other, we realize the limited impact of political art. In a climate of socio-cultural hegemony and uncertainty, how can artists find their transformative power and enact it?

No matter what your favorite genre and how you cast your vote, there have been contributions from the Sunday artist to the go pro we can all appreciate.

Henri Matisse

Goldfish and Palette, 1914

Oil on Canvas

57 1/4" x 44 1/4"

Richard Diebenkorn

Recollections of a Visit to Leningrad, 1965

Oil on Canvas

73" x 84"

I know I've asked myself, if its been done before do I continue to paint? “ Is Painting Dead? "

Is it worthy of my time; my life?

A question I have recently decided to no longer engage my time pondering, but spend my time creating.

Do I have the talent, have I chosen to paint the right content, is my style desirable? Styles emerge, shift and alter.

Are you kidding me self?!...You have no talent, or business in the business of art…Leave that to the professional painters.

You are masquerading as one.

If “art” is so esoteric, if its so up to the eyes of the beholder, if I’m having trouble wrapping my hands around this…IF, I’m having so much uncomfortable feelings about being a painter…AND, I cant make a living from this… I keeping ranting…


Then “Why are you doing this, to yourself?….

Because, there is something within me that keeps going to this place.

It’s forbidden, mysterious, and ephemeral.

It’s a place I can go it alone, where no one but me can challenge myself, understand who I am within the world around me, reflect on society, embrace challenges, and walk away a better person than I started out as.

This has proved to be the best form of therapy for me.

DO I decide to lose the game before the play?

Each time I return to a painting, I’ve believed I came to the relationship refreshed, with new insights, thinking I could be someone ‘better”.

Have I become “better” or just someone different but the same?

Older, wiser, stronger, brighter?

How can I learn to live within the skin?

My painting, and clearly I now know for sure, this craft of painting, this “work” is really work.

Other artists have shared this perspective. Play this video to listen to Richard Diebenkorn talk about his art:

This business of painting some people have passed off as fun, joyous, easy…does not come to the hand in that fashion.

It comes with doubt, indecision, struggle, empathy, remorse, small gains, a sense of necessity.

After the battle- imagined or real (on canvas, not on soil) and when the demons have been slain, comes the joy.

Only then, have I decided it was all worth getting in the ring for.

Pollock, Number 1A

Jackson Pollock

Number 1A, 1948

Oil and Enamel Paint on Canvas

68" x 8'8"

Roaring Wind, Perle Fine

Perle Fine

Roaring Wind, 1958

Oil and Collage on Canvas with Aluminum Foil

42" x 54 1/4"

At this point, my position is that each person comes to the easel with his or her own set of personality traits, belief system, skill set, and interests.

The difference of the amount of win is the amount of time invested in the craft.

There has been influence between early artists, overlaps of artists living at the same time and expressing content in a similar vein, and those who have led the pack through the courage, volume and determination that they possessed. Cezanne was an inspiration to Picasso who continues to lead and inspire our era:

"Art is a lie that makes us realize truth", Picasso

Are we seeing things the same? Please cast your vote: opinions matter, I want to hear from you.

We are the same, yet different.

Heyy All, Keep Calm, and Paint ON !!


narrative of the medium

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