Provisional painting can be seen as a turn away from “strong” paintings, or any sense of grandeur. But why would any artist not pursue the heights of a masterpiece and a sense of perfection? The history of art, and especially modernism has been littered with artists who never feel satisfied, always feeling weighed down in self-criticism. As Dali once said, “Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it”. By not pursuing the illusion of greatness, paintings that show mistakes, seek self-sabotage and turn a cold shoulder towards the high end aesthetic of the art market, these painters unfinished, abandoned works embrace the “purity of the unprofitable”.
Albert Oehlen is a contemporary German painter, closely associated with the Cologne art scene. A former painter in the“bad” Neo-Expressionist style, Oehlen can be seen as pushing bad painting to its limits. Semi-abstracted objects emerge and dissolve against the fluid painterly background. None of Oehlens mistakes are hidden, and many shapes are clearly “re-done”. The refusal to hide away mistakes is surprisingly refreshing, and simultaneously reveals the true process behind a painting. These paintings come alive due to their awkwardness.
Provisional painting is one of the most recent trends today in painting. So underground that none of the major institutions of the art world have yet to champion its heroes. In an even greater sign of the times this “provisional” trend in painting has been declared and discussed by art magazines and blogs online. The internet is shaping art discourse like never before.
The most recent trend in painting today- Provisional Painting.
Provisional painting was originally outlined by the writer Raphael Rubinstein, in “Art in America” 5/4/09. Several other notable art blogs have picked up on this trend and discussed it at length.
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