Expressing Eloquence

Anneke Portrait 2015-02-01
Portrait of Anneke

It is uncommon to find an artist who is capable of expressing clear aims and ideals.

An eccentricity of manner and irregularity of life are more important than talent for well-defined explanation and eloquence. A Post-modernism peculiarity among artists is to dismiss the audience.

Yet seeking audience sympathy of artistic babbles is Post-modern too, distending our language by extreme contortion abuse. When asked to voice your own Post-modernistic views do so loudly and try to be excruciatingly obtuse.

It seems to me that attempts at clear concise narrative is considered to reflect bourgeois tendency and thus is disavowed by the self appointed avant-garde of arts.

Manifestos of Modernism movements like Post-impressionism and Neo-expressionism never existed per se; Writings on topic tend to verbosity, loosing clarity in the process.

It is trendy in a Post-modernism sense to make no sense voluminously, and no clear manifestos to rationalise the ‘isms’ exist. Yet some artist did wrestle with clarifying the trends, Kandinsky for example, who wrote lots and some is even comprehensible.

I believe that when the power of art is to excite argument and present rousing and stimulating insights it is best to do so succinctly.

After all, to practice a theory about art firstly demands a foundation conviction in order for it to be earnestly indulged in atelier training. It’s all about clarity of purpose and the lineal array of ‘isms’ to make your art today.

Don’t you love the term ‘Post-Impressionism’? It’s a collective name for art trends after Impressionism.

I like the term because ironically at the ateliers that I frequented Impressionism was never superseded. A ‘post’ period hardly mattered because the new trends morphed into the established styles as artists continued to paint ‘impressionistic’.

Changes have happened abruptly when artists sought to express the inner feeling rather than the outer reality of ‘Plein Air’ Impressionists’ endeavour.

Inevitably the result added up to complete mental chaos among its protagonists that made wonderful copy in the new world media. Impressionists who experimented turned Expressionists at whim or when commentators’ news copy claimed they did so.

Kandinsky said:
”The relationships in art are not necessarily ones of outward form, but are founded on inner sympathy of meaning.”

Here he refers to the ”symbolist tradition” used to express affinity between the various generations of artists and archaic expressive primitive art in primordial cave galleries, like those at Altamira.

Simplicity and discerning vision marks the true Post–Impressionist’s logical process of sophisticated synthesis at observations and selections of the essential elements in pictures.

Such fusions will find expression by simplification and harsh technique that build on the naturalists’ ideals found in Impressionism.

The Post–Impressionist selects his objects to express the feeling of the artwork, choosing elements that sum up the whole. Everything demands a relationship and a connection in a spatial dreaming context. Early man painted cave galleries 10,000 years ago in stylistic wonders that were rediscovered and then used by Western European artists in the 20th Century.

Although clarifying Post-Impressionism trends often suffers bunkum prosing by quasi-intellectuals these trends in art can be understandable.

To say it simply: Whereas the Impressionists captured fleeting light in a landscape full of mood with the atmosphere retaining gravity, post-impressionists snared sequences in mindscapes floating symbolic dream spaces.

Impressionism has its representative sunlight and post-impressionism urges a spiritual differentiation yoked by symbols that are purloined from previous trends all the way back to the Neolithic period with a dash of the near and far Oriental plus Pacific exotica.

Each has valid narratives to touch your psyche. Often artists did a bit of both and trafficked trends like Cubism et al while painting Impressionism to make ends meet. I know artists who explored inner worlds doing unsellable artworks while pumping out commercially acceptable ‘masterpieces’. There was money for commercial art but not that much enthusiasm for inner examinations of self-turmoil.

Story boarders mapping the great game for artists spun the Post-Impressionists’ personal anxiety myths. This is called ‘provenance’, and if told romantically it makes money.

Post-Impressionism in the 20th Century was about selling a good saga for money.

When Arts Councils began dispensing largesse to fund Post-Modernism the marketplace conditions changed.

Suddenly the selling of a good saga for money in enterprising market conditions was replaced by the selling of a good saga in triplicate form and State support with no need to sell.

Being a handy artist with sound skill-sets was passé, replaced by glib taletellers’ spin. Art as I know it exists today, but the fully remunerated outrageous spinners own the momentum being sustained by flowing government largesse, aka the public.

Post-Modernism? It means social welfare for mixed-up artists and glib dealers with the ‘anything goes’ mantra, and the old marketplace is a confusing place. The more baffling it sounds the better it is thought to be, yet if you say you don’t get it you are shunned. A competence to express clear aims and ideals does not matter because eloquent narrative isn’t necessary to be funded.

Remember if anyone states that’s the ‘Great Game’ is not about the money it surely is about the money!

Don’t worry if you fail to grasp the ‘trends’. Those who say they do get it often don’t either and hide the lack of comprehension in gobbledygook prose.

What really matters is to paint well in the Tamar Valley and that requires an understanding of European Modernism and technique.

This short essay above is for my ‘foundation’ atelier art students.

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