As with your own letter, mine was also written rather quickly
following that conversation with Rae about painting, and as you point
out there are problems with my wording, partly because I'm tackling
two complex issues in one short note, the first being the artist's
personal experience and the other of the social position of painting
Concerning your final comments, I remember back in the 1960's when
black and white photography was seen as an art form and color
photography wasn't (I'm generalising again when considering shifting
opinions of decades up to that time and later). I think we can put
the "is it more art" question to rest when looking at "art" as the
concerned intellectual and aesthetic effort to communicate with
objects, sound, movement, etc.
"I somehow doubt that it's going to get a lot of attention or serious
consideration due to the wording". If there is a real problem, bad
grammar or lack of clarity shouldn't be the criterion to judge the
issue. Of course I should have said "less" technical intermediary,
in the sense that new media technology aids, defines and channels
production while painting does much less along those lines (notice my
"safe" wording here - which is still open to rebutal...). That's not
an issue of comparative quality as art. Your letter does raise an
interesting question along the lines of "the more you have, the more
you spend"; the more technology assists us, the higher the bar raised
as to what's expected.
So let me reword my notes; "considering the technical differences in
media, and the exhibition venues currently available, is the painting
medium deprecated/discouraged as an art form, and is this a good or
On Jun 11, 2007, at 11:35 AM, Pall Thayer wrote:
> I understand where you're coming from but I don't agree with some
> of the wording of your letter and I somehow doubt that it's going
> to get a lot of attention or serious consideration due to the
> wording. As with a number of my posts, this was written pretty
> quickly and may contain errors and contradictions. I'll deal with
> them as they arise.
> First of all, saying that new media is "easy and pleasant" in
> comparison to painting sounds awful. If painting is what you're
> into and you've been doing it for a number of years, it's just as
> "easy and pleasant" as any other medium will be to someone who
> knows it well. Computer-based arts tend to be a bit cleaner,
> require less space and are somewhat less physical but that doesn't
> make painting less easy or pleasant. I painted for years before
> turning completely to computer-based art and there were several
> things about painting that I found much easier. One would be the
> DIFFERENCE in the technical mediation between me and a painting.
> Today, if I want to change something, I have to edit code,
> recompile and then run the work to see the effect. Sometimes I have
> to allow the work to run for 30 to 60 minutes before I can see the
> effects of the change. Sometimes I'll make some changes and the
> work doesn't run at all in which case I could spend anywhere from 2
> minutes to 2 days (or longer) diagnosing and researching the
> problem. On average, I would say that each finished piece is the
> culmination of about 1.5 years of work. When it's time to exhibit
> the piece, a whole new set of potential problems arise. Will the
> piece run properly on the gallery's hardware? Will it work with
> their network configuration? Is their Internet connection reliable
> enough? etc.
> To say that painting involves a "creative process without any
> technical intermediary" is just plain wrong. Examples of technical
> intermediaries in painting are brush, canvas, paint, etc. There is
> a difference in the technical mediation in painting and new media,
> but when you begin to really think about it, the difference is not
> as big as one might at first assume. Obviously, applying some paint
> to a canvas with a brush is going to produce immediate results. But
> the overall effect of those results may take a while to emerge and
> make themselves apparent and when they do, you may have to due a
> lot of "debugging" to fix it.
> The wording, in the opening to your letter, seems to suggest that
> painting is "more art" than new media, i.e. new media is "easy and
> pleasant" (no pain, no gain) and painting is a "creative process
> without any technical intermediary". A more direct and uninhibited
> creative process. Is new media then veiled behind a mask of
> technical mediation? Flashy yet empty? Should we perhaps view it as
> something fake, masquerading as truly creative art? I'm sure that
> this not at all what you mean, but due to the wording of your
> letter, it could be assumed.
> On 9-Jun-07, at 12:06 AM, Legrady Miklos wrote:
>> copy of a letter about painting as contemporary media
>> sent to the Canada Council
>> A conversation this afternoon with painter Rae Johnson brought up
>> an issue which I wanted to pass on. Discussing painting she
>> repeated something she regularly tells her students at O.C.A.D,
>> that it's a brutal and exhausting process.
>> I was wondering if painting will now or in the future need some
>> kind of special cultural protection or encouragement in Canadian
>> art. I work with new media and photography as well as painting,
>> and I know how easy and pleasant these are to use compared to
>> painting, in which one faces the creative process without any
>> technical intermediary.
>> Renee Baert, in 1987 wrote;
>> "Video is a medium in search of its own authority. ...
>> And, after more than a decade of history,
>> its virtual exclusion from established venues of presentation
>> requires the constant cultivation of a context in which it can
>> "Video in Canada: In Search of Authority."
>> [from the catalogue FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA:
>> Artist-initiated activity in Canada, 1939-1987]
>> The situation has perhaps reversed itself in the last 29 years.
>> From personal experience I know I can produce two or three
>> original photographic series in a year, of 20-40 images, from
>> which work is exhibited and sold within that year, whereas it can
>> take from 2-5 years to produce a single (equally well researched
>> and executed) body of work in painting, for which I often don't
>> find a venue. You see how the painting medium is disadvantaged
>> here as a career vehicle. Rae Johnson's comment above suggests
>> other painters face similar issues.
>> Also worth reviewing the number of calls for painting submissions
>> compared to new media, photography, installation, etc. Of course
>> one questions how much should one should let cultural forces
>> operate unimpeded and where to step in, but it seems painters now
>> have unseen and unacknowledged handicaps compared to other media,
>> that this is worth keeping under observation. Is painting in
>> exclusion from established venues of presentation and does it
>> require the constant cultivation of a context in which it can exist?
>> Miklos Legrady
>> 310 Bathurst st.
>> Toronto ON
>> M5T 2S3
>> 416-203-1846 - home
>> 647-292-1846 - cell
> Pall Thayer
310 Bathurst st.
416-203-1846 - home
647-292-1846 - cellhttp://firstname.lastname@example.org