mike tremblay December 11, 2019

Paint ‘in the moment’, simply see what would happen if…, if you did this and then that.

Painting in the ‘here and now’ or ‘in the moment’ does not mean that I am being careless. I am interpreting how I feel, my mood, what I am thinking at that particular moment, which of course will evolve as I have the conversation with the painting.

Abstract expressionists feared the label decorative, as they didn’t want to paint anything recognisable. They also used big brushes, to avoid detail. But like the logical positivists, there is a contradiction that undermines the position. AE work is about something and has real world agency.

I am an abstract painter. That means I am not painting ‘objects’ in the ‘real world’. The problem with an abstract painting is that as soon as it is finished, it now exists in the real world, and is now ‘something’. This transformation is out of my, or the artist’s control, even if they try to condition how the work is viewed, though the title. I try to explain some of the paintings, but that is partly an effort to put the work into the real world as I see it, but it should not determine the meaning others make of them.

My antipathy to formal art education lies to some extent in this issue as the precision of the painting isn’t important, but how it is read by others. That ability may not be central to the academic study of art itself and may mislead how we understand the necessary and sufficient preparation for artistic ‘work’.