It has been brought to my attention lately that most of my artwork is very contrived. Initially, this seemed like a very unfair accusation. Of course my work is contrived—I am an artist. Our job is to deliberately make something that would otherwise not exist. Art.

After some thoughtful reflection on this, however, I reached somewhat of a mini-revelation, if you will. If all art is contrived, then it would be utter folly to hope to be solely spontaneous. There is no way to remove the deliberate, conscious mark-making and image creation from our work. Without planning to some degree, you would not be able to create. I think Malevich, with “Black Square”, was on to something. He gave us what he thought to be the first painting ever. The basis of painting. From that point on, art and painting have become more and more contrived. Certainly there have been many artists who have tried to create spontaneity and objectivism in their work, but I would argue it is impossible to achieve true objectivism. There is just no way to remove the artist’s hand from their work. Even photography, a relatively objective form of art making is not truly unbiased. Decisions are made about cropping, subject matter, lighting, and many other things that contribute to its contrived nature.

So, person who called my work contrived, I think you are correct. I am very deliberate with my work. I plan and plot my paintings before I begin. Is it possible not to?

Posted in Art

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