Post #1249 • October 29, 2008, 9:48 AM • 6 Comments
One of the sights to see in Gloucester is the Tarr and Wonson Paint Factory, which is not frequently open to the public, but this weekend was the site of an art exhibition. Tarr and Wonson formulated an effective copper-based bottom paint that resisted barnacles and other sea life, and "Copper Paint" is displayed proudly on the side of the building, which stands as a handsome, brick-red landmark of maritime industry on the Gloucester shorline.
We were there largely to see the work of Jeff Weaver. Some of his recent paintings recall a good Wyeth in tone, while taking advantage of a buttery yet specific touch with oils. Hearteningly, his works seem to have snapped into place in recent years, comparing newer to older works. These paintings are undeniably aimed at a tourist art market, and the tourist market is littered with nonsense. But I have to wonder whether the Armory show or Art Basel/Miami Beach couldn't also be considered a tourist art market, albeit aimed at a different sort of tourist - the fair-hopping collector with aspirations to high culture. That landscape is no less littered with nonsense. Maybe they're all tourist markets. Better yet, maybe art ought not be judged by who buys it.
I have considered, though (and this thought first came to me upon my arrival last year in Laguna Beach, where the art scene, frankly, is dominated by insipid paintings of coastline) that what we call the tourist market would make a logical refuge for figurative talent. That, and comics. The only problem would be making the professional situation enabling to great work. But in that, the genre market and what we usually consider the serious market differ more in degree than kind. Given what goes on at the high end of the nominally serious market, in some respects the advantage may go to the former.
Photos are mostly Supergirl's.