Friday, May 21, 2010

Us:Them....

Oranges and Grapefruit   watercolor   20 x 12
This past Wednesday evening our club program was a 2006 film entitled "Local Color", the story of painter John Gallo's summer of 1974 when he struggled to paint traditionally in an art culture steeped in modernism.  On the surface it was a cute entertaining movie.  The theme that surfaces, however, is yet another us versus them conflict, the traditionalists versus the moderns; the sharks versus the jets; the Capulets versus the Montagues; whatever -  each team reeking of righteousness, each team needing to be #1. Troublesome.   The traditionalist, of course, is the underdog and we find ourselves wishing him to triumph over the modernist enemy.  This polarized thinking definitely has its problems.  I have never enjoyed a group mentality which is just a widget away from a gang mentality.  Whatever happened to thinking for oneself?  ....painting and studying and evolving into the best painter one can be....doing what seems to be correct for oneself......label-free...pedigree-free.  Granted, as with all polar opposites, there is some stereotyping going on....the sappy sweet traditionalist who relies on pure sentiment and a nostalgia for the past (little cottages anyone?) or the modernist whose black canvas needs to be considered and reconsidered to understand all of its implications.

    Not all who wander are lost.  Take your life in your own hands and what happens?  A terrible thing:  no one to blame
            Erica Jong

An orange can be painted in many ways and I believe that there will be an audience to enjoy each and every one.  I am afraid that I am a mutt, a dappled soul.   I enjoy many oranges besides the ones I paint.....even the real ones.

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