|paris by gaslight
The almost God like worship the first wave Futurists for electricity found it's way onto the canvas, the most obvious early attempt at capturing this new technology found in Balla's Street Lamp (1909), where thousands of iridescent chevrons of red and gold radiate outwards from the centre of the picture plane, the electric lamp itself a dynamic, vibrating pod of golden white. Severini handled the issue of electric light very differently, but with equal charm, in The Boulevard (1909), where his Proto-Cubist handling (remembering that Severini was based in Paris and had been exposed to Proto-Cubism via his association with Picasso and Braque well before Boccioni's 1911 visit) transforms the light of the street lamps into yellow triangles, headlights conceived as small, yellow circles with radiating beams - tiny, child-like suns in his bustling, urban landscape.
The message of the electric light and power are separate from their uses, yet they eliminate time and space factors in human association exactly as do radio, telegraph, telephone and TV, creating involvement in depth.
Thanks. Was wondering about the effect of the light bulb on Modernist thinking. (I assume you saw the AFC thread). But what does it say when an artist "does" a light bulb in 2010? Backward-looking is the only way I can describe it.
sillman appears to render either archaic light bulbs or (DC) flashlight bulbs for some reason. web consensus connects radiant light bulbs to edison's eurica moments (of which he had many including vacuum tube light bulbs). some effort has also been given to replacing the classic light bulb symbol with something else since recent technology has proven it to be a not so efficient form of luminescence. once something has attained iconic status its hard to undo without a better replacement icon (a reference here to "reinventing the light bulb"). technology may not be the place to look for lasting metaphors, but a hundred years is not a bad run.
If she'd painted this I might say she's thinking about technology instead of just "an idea."
'bête comme un peintre.'
Untitled (Light Bulb), oil on panel, 12 x 14 inches / "After witnessing his father's depression and finding him following his suicide, the young Guston retreated to a place of literal isolation--a closet illuminated by a single light bulb--and began a lifelong career in art through an intense engagement with cartoons of his own invention. The light bulb later became a prevailing image in Guston's mature work. "
Someone on that AFC thread actually said something like "Sillman may not be Guston, but who is? Don't hold it against her." Pathetic.
now thats there some lovely art.....
"...thinking about technology instead of just an 'idea.'"
I realise this belongs in a specific context regarding the AFC thread but it's a weird distinction. Technology & idea are historically pretty tightly integrated. That's why the light bulb is such a cute icon.
Hi, Sally, I touched on your point later in the thread about merely retinal painters suddenly becoming guardians of the
this was the guston light bulb image link source:
When I was recently in nyc i had a chance to see an exhibition of small panel paintings in oil by Philip Guston at David McKee Gallery that were painted during the years 1969-1973 [Nixon Era]. In these small works, Guston isolated elements of his larger paintings: one lightbulb, a wall, an easel, painting them with a vigorous sureness of touch.smore context for guston at mckee (note: sillman mention on video @ 3:23).
I think the lightbulb is actually a pretty good visual metaphor to encapsulate the merits of looking backward at technology. In this day and age, I don't think there needs to be a direct reference to computer or screen or cyber ... their influence on perception is ubiquitous and to some extent (I hope) can be taken as read. And the history of art&technology feels to me like a very relevant thing to discuss. However, the Sillman paintings are pretty unappealing, and trying to formulate a discourse around one's own paintings with other media is clunky in the extreme. It feels too forced, especially since there is so much other good work that evokes the materiality of idea, the crunching of formal and conceptual concerns, without the need to over-articulate it in a didactic way. But the artists I am thinking of who really succeed at this- Lorna Mills, Rebecca Diederichs, Fastwurms, Andrew J. Paterson...are all using multi-media. Painters who do it? I know of painters who are trying. Matt Crookshank is one. Maybe Angela Leach. Monica Tap for sure. It's harder in painting, but I wouldn't rule the medium out altogether.
Just so we're clear, I didn't say every art work requires a direct reference to computer-or-screen-or-cyber (that was the conclusion many enraged painters reached on the AFC thread), but some acknowledgment that we live in a time period after 1977 or so would be useful. Sillman's paintings are frozen around the "new image painting" era. So she has a CD and a zine on the gallery desk and her followers insist that we must read all three together. "Trying to formulate a discourse around one's own paintings with other media is clunky in the extreme" is the issue, for sure.
I corrected "guardians of the tactile" above--I know you know what I meant.
# Painting is dead. Long live painting!
"painting is dead" is and has always been about the dumbest phrase to ever emerge from art criticism. It's just such a boring red herring.
Though I do recall reading a critic recently who stated that each painting has to make a case for itself. I liked that criteria (and wish it was applied more broadly to other media)
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