Like all good ideas for an article (about painting) the writer of it needs a good title to kick off the brain cells and hang the proverbial hat on. And the one I thought of for this article was a great headline (From Cezanne to Wham). The problem begins when one starts to write, or in my case, when I start my extensive, (but enjoyable), research that my brain questioned itself.Art research is more complex than most people understand it to be. Not because it’s intellectually too demanding, although some may find coming to terms with the sublimation or transposed concepts onto a blank surface sounds a little bit too much like understanding magic, rather than the fully accomplished creative power of an artist.
The truth is, Art is quite simple – it’s work like any other work….one has to turn up everyday and put a shift in. So, hence my title changed to…in the beginning there was…Cezanne? The reason for the change of mind was because I really wanted to challenge the accepted mantra that Cezanne was the father of Modern Art – as in painters – not them artists that hang plastic bags from ceilings and say it’s art.
Its surprising how many artists never reach the artistic freedom of a conceptual image, one that becomes a transposition or an actual developed ability, which is a normal day to day common ability employed in painting today. Despite the visual delights of colour abstraction in the work of the early revolutionists and all of those early ism’s, they were still all based on real subject matter, the one that was immediately in front of them.
Even one of my all time art-anti-heroes, Paul Gauguin, needed real or intimate visual stimulation. Apart from the Abstract Expressionists, say like Rothko and Pollock, most, relied on the visual real or photographic prints. or in todays world their laptops or iPads, to copy something that already exists. So to get from Cezanne to “Whaam” (sic: Modernism to Pop) seemed to me have no actual real meaning or would not show that in actual fact no true advancement had been made in painting in the 20th century, let alone the 21st and therefore that clever title I had come up with was in fact – very misleading, or worse still, fatuous.
After all Cezanne copied real fruit or a real mountain (or his dad) in the main, and Roy (Lichtenstein) copied a comic originally created by a cartoonist in NYC. How they both actually did it, seemed to be the point that made their Art worthy of note. Personally I doubt the ‘impact’ on other artists that they had, an influence that every academic on the planet thinks that both these artists did, but that argument is for another discussion and involves the ‘self-marketing antics’ of one of the most inventive image makers that there has ever been – Yes, Pablo (of course you guessed it).
The undeniable differentials between the artists in the original title of this article is however interesting to many and totally unimportant to most non-art producing folk (probably). Be that as it may, I am guessing if you are reading painters TUBES magazine, then your interest in painting and Art history goes beyond surface visual gratification or a quick and quirky intellectual fix of a post modernists idea to discuss in a wine bar….