Friday, 29 June 2012

I am not an artist, but...

Followers of this blog will be aware that it has always dealt almost exclusively with current political issues with occasional references to recent history. This is not about to change.

However, this post relates to the launch of a sister blog dealing with the politics of art from the perspective of someone with virtually no knowledge of art history. As the name of the blog suggests I am not an artist, but... I still feel the need to give my opinion despite, or pehaps because of, my ignorance. I believe art is not handed down to us by great artists any more than political ideas are handed down to us by great thinkers or laws are handed down to us by great men (politicians and judges are still overwhelmingly male). My approach to art is the same as my approach to politics; it is something we all can and should engage with.

"It seems to me that for many artists there is a dichotomy between the urban landscape and the natural landscape. In many ways this might seem obvious. If one is an artist in Central London one might paint the Houses of Parliament or St. Paul's Cathedral. By contrast in one lived in the countryside in Scotland it might be hills or lochs. But it seems to me that this is quite an arbitrary divide. Most places have elements of both.
"Take for example the many paintings of St. Michael's Mount that any visitor to Penzance or anywhere else in West Cornwall would be confronted with in the many art galleries found in those parts. They are almost all looking from the beach opposite (usually Marazion) or from a little higher up or even from the point of view of the sea. Again it might seem obvious to look from a good vantage point.
"But to me this is not very interesting because it is not the view that someone living and working in the area normally sees. Not unless they have a lot of money and an incredible view and most people do not. It is also usually a timeless view as it has no historical context. It is a painting that could have been painted at any point in the last hundred years. To me, a painting without relation to the times or the people living and working in the area is pointless, it must be contextualised.
"I also prefer the composition of a picture of a natural landscape if it has human-made forms interrupting it. This, for example is a photograph of the sea, a boat and a cliff. I love the way the TV aerials and chimney pots cut across the landscape unwelcome and unbidden. It makes it more real. This is the way we usually see the sea or the countryside whilst we are running to the shop or out of work on our lunch break.
"To me, a landscape painting needs to tell us something about the relationship between nature and humanity. It is not enough to simply present nature as something timeless and unchanging and that stands on its own. To me that suggests a desire to escape human society to an imaginary natural paradise. I don't want to escape the human world, I want to change it."


  1. This is the right site for anybody who wishes to understand this
    topic. You understand a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa).
    You definitely put a fresh spin on a subject which has
    been written about for many years. Excellent stuff, just great!

    Feel free to visit my blog: wild Newport Beach acupuncture

  2. Hello, Neat post. There's a problem together
    with your web site in web explorer, could test this? IE nonetheless is the marketplace chief and a huge section of folks
    will leave out your fantastic writing due to this problem.

    my web blog malaysian hair for sale (

  3. Ҭɦe truth іs the number one cаuse of death for dogs under
    3 yеars off ɑge is not actually іnfextious diseases – it is the behavioral
    issues between puppies as they gгow up to bbe dogs….
    Wiith thee primary aim of dеmonstrating my considerable intellect I wіll now demonsxtrate
    tɦe complexity of the many facetеd issue that is
    livejaѕmin hack. but sаvers, llet mee tell ya,
    gone arе tthe days օof crap.

    Feel free to vіsit my blog post: livejasmine

  4. Great blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What web host are you using?
    Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as
    fast as yours lol

    my website :: Limpiar Piel

  5. Can I simply just say what a relief to find somebody who really knows what they are
    talking about over the internet. You certainly understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    More and more people ought to look at this and understand this side of the story.
    I can't believe you're not more popular since you surely have the gift.

    Visit my blog post obsession quizilla ()

  6. This web site definitely has all of the info
    I wanted concerning this subject and didn't know who to ask.

    My page ... work from home jobs in minnesota