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Getting On With Painting

Post #1655 • March 6, 2014, 3:11 PM

[Image: Laurie Fendrich, Don't You Dare, 2007, oil on canvas, 36 x 34 inches, courtesy of the artist]

Laurie Fendrich, Don't You Dare, 2007, oil on canvas, 36 x 34 inches, courtesy of the artist

Laurie Fendrich and Peter Plagens have a conversation about painting. Fendrich:

Unfortunately, a lot of art teachers destroy the joyful part of painting by forcing their students to think about their paintings in all the wrong ways. The hipper ones want their students to think about abstract theories (most of them borrowed from literary theory and philosophy). Buying Harold Bloom’s “anxiety of influence” whole hog, as if it were absolute truth, many art teachers bludgeon their students with the hubristic notion that “everything’s been done” in painting and originality is impossible. The prevalence of this truly arrogant outlook demonstrates how easy it is to fall victim to the dominant ideology of an age, and it doesn’t begin to acknowledge that our ability to predict the future is limited. Artists are always changing history as well as changing in history. Originality requires a degree of forgetfulness and illusion. Today’s young painters need to find a way to move past self-consciousness-a crippling thing for an artist-and get on with painting. Great paintings and painters are at our backs, yes, but they should inspire us, not intimidate us. Anyway, painters aren’t stupid. They know painting is out of sync with the dominant art forms of our age. So what? We go against our age. We paint because painting remains the sole art form able to express human yearning for material objects to transcend their physicality.

I recommend the whole of it to you.

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