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mediumisthemessage

THE MEDIUM

is the

MESSAGE

in contemporary art


the medium of painting is the message in contemporary art

the process is the message

The contemporary artist, composer, dancer etc show that s/he knows what s/he is doing when dancing,
painting, composing etc. They, we, no longer attempt to disguise how e paint, that we paint, how
we dance, compose etc. the process of painting itself is our subject matter.

Rembrandt attempted to disguise the fact that he is painting and how it is done, how
the subject matter appears on the canvas. The contemporary artist does not try to hide how

s/he paints but shows how it is done and the fact that he is painting.

The marks on paper or canvas are shown explicitly, they are the subject matter of the work.
They are not mere hidden tools that are used to try and create the illusion of some seemingly
real object.

From a professor in the USA on my work –

further illustrating what I wrote above:

Insightful piece of writing. Your work is reminding me more of Chinese calligraphy now, the kind that Merton was playing with – all done quickly. As Life emerges from Formless Spirit, it becomes apparent to consciousness in an unadorned state. If I filter it through thought and emotion it becomes something else, something from the past, something from the patterns I can recognize readily. Having done that, I try to take control of it without realizing that’s what I’m doing. I put it on canvas, paper, a piano keyboard, whatever container that I can find to receive it. Your “marks on paper” invite me to see a cityscape (perhaps?) before it has familiar pattern. All I see is an act of you breathing out. I can never “trap” it because it can never be more than air or a Rorschach blot onto which I project the past.

The writing he refers to is this –

Photos and figurative work as mere marks on paper
mere marks on paper.. A figurative painter or photographer (and viewers of their work) may mistakenly think when work is viewed that they perceive ‘a real tree, a real person, a real flower, a real house, etc’. But what the viewer is presented with and what the artist produces are ‘marks on paper’.\ An artist in the ‘contemporary period’ (that is, Post- WWII, Pre-WWII are usually referred to as the ‘modern’ period) however, is aware of the fact s/he produces ‘mere marks on paper’ (or whatever support s/he employs). What is perceived (and interpreted) ‘as if’ it is a ‘real’, more or less, three dimensional rose, face, figure, mountain, house, etc are really nothing more than ‘marks on paper’ ‘resembling’ and giving the illusion (in the mind of the viewer) of a ‘concrete, three dimensional object’. Compare these two works as examples of mere marks on paper – the one is mine, the other, dating roughly 1889 of Whistler, British ‘landscape’ painter.











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