Commentary on Provisional Painting Part 2: To Rest Lightly On Earth

The idea of “painting is impossible” is a heavy statement, and yet it yields some truth to me. Ever since the invention of photography, painting shifted its intention from simply reproducing image, to an actual construction of something from nothing. In the beginning of the article, the reference to Jean Paul Sartre’s work Being and Nothingness, brings up interesting philosophical questions about artist vs. work. This later separation of the individual from the work, as is illustrated in the article with Warhol’s factory, lends the artist a greater distance in which to judge the level of ‘doneness’ or to avoid ‘finished’ or ‘overworked’ paintings. Philip Guston, whose short but visceral experimentation with abstract expressionism, draws a distinction between “creating” and simply producing art.

On the notion of finished/unfinished mentioned in the article that stuck with me was the following phrase from an ancient Chinese painter “one should not fear the incomplete, but quite to the contrary, one should deplore that which is too complete.” This idea that completeness would deprive the viewer of the mystery of the picture. The sense of ambiguity is always an intriguing factor to me in a work of art. If the image is too recognizable, too contrived, then it seems to have given itself away. It’s something like a good movie – if some questions are left unanswered there is more to walk away with and think about afterward – it gives a sense of wonder and leaves room for personal creative problem solving.

All content sighted is derived from Provisional Painting Part 2: To Rest Lightly On Earth by Raphael Rubinstein,


By klcloonan

Los Angeles Interdisciplinary Artist

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