Painting, Cornered


David Rijkaert III, Painters Workshop (1638), oil  on panel, 23.2″ x 37.4″; courtesy The Louvre

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“The Four Corners of Painting”, Richard Kalina’s essay on the state of the art form, is as programmatic as his own works-on-canvas and, alas, considerably less quirky. Still, devotees of the medium will want to give the essay a thorough going-over. Anyone who can put a positive spin on putting brush to canvas in our “decidedly ahistorical” culture deserves a high five. Kalina writes:

“We are living in an age where various forces, primarily market-driven, but also critical, curatorial, and educational, are fostering a decidedly ahistorical attitude. A willed loss of historical perspective has a not-so-hidden implication—and that is that all work is perforce new and fresh, that it springs from the artist’s absolute individuality and therefore should not be questioned from the point of view of history, although it ought to be granted the very prerogatives accorded in the modernist past to ‘groundbreaking’ art. This does us all a disservice.”

“The Four Corners of Painting” can be found in the current edition of The Brooklyn Rail.

© 2012 Mario Naves

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