Notes on Painting, March, 2014

In actuality, art is not busy, or still. It isn’t selling you a bill of goods. It’s not communicating. It is resolutely not the expression of any self. It isn’t a question, a proposition, or a response. It isn’t sacred or profane.

True painting isn’t painting. It’s not about painting, or anything else. It isn’t an image, a representation, a symbol, or an icon. It’s not about feelings or ideas; it’s not stumping for a cause. Art makes no moves, for or against, away from or toward. It’s not an historical catalyst. There is absolutely no such activity as “realism”; there is no abstraction.

Art is not a gimmick. It isn’t clever. It isn’t stupid. Art resists good taste, and bad taste.

It’s not deferential, but it’s not rebelling. It is not a commodity. It’s not an object, nor is it an idea. There is no such thing as conceptual art, or formalism, or surrealism – and certainly not pop art. Nor was there ever, really. Art was and is always modern, because “Art” arose in modernity (the origin of which is long before industrialization). It appeared to indicate that which was not modern. There never was post-, much less post-post-post-, modernism. In fine art, there is no real before or after.

Things are things, which are not things. Things are actually not-thinging as much as they are thinging. Art is art and at the same time it fully exists as not art. Art and not-art are not the same, but they aren’t that different, either.

Art is not history, science, philosophy, medicine, or religion, and upon them can make no substantial comment. Art stands alone, right in the midst. Art does not champion causes, break new ground, evolve, devolve, develop or disintegrate. Art indicates the possibility of non-abiding and non-doing, while fully being and thoroughly working.

Art is no joke. Because it is so serious, we shouldn’t take it too seriously.