A post-modern agenda challenging the ontological status of aesthetic value countered the qualitative visual arts by purporting a nonsensical aesthetic, sensory and cultural consumption. It focused on nonsensical concepts and processes regarding media adaptation, compositional values, inter-arts collaboration, societal implications and 21st century digital/analog application.
The attached poem, Unforms Dancing, addresses this dualistic dilemma opening with imaginative loci of unknowns and later lamenting the revered status of mundane forms taught as generational truths. Its closing anticipates artistic leadership’s quest (Siren Skye Songs) for qualitative forms which elevate the human condition. Unforms Dancing dares to infer that qualitative visual art’s outcomes affect cultural longevity. It implies in-depth creative and critical thinking in the creation of unique works of art is missing in “dead” post-modern form. It contemplates the authentic qualities of discovered “unknowns” and seeks enlightened sensitivities in artistic transformations. It professes retention of form authenticity to reach beyond the trite to create visually compelling works of art. The qualitative visual arts seek a vibrant culture of artistic realities through artworks of hope, relief and vision in an ever-conflicted world.
Artist’s Residence Glenn Shores, Lake Michigan © L.Rizzolo
Moments of shapeless form,
Untouched scrapings, worn.
Sought in life’s cavernous hollows,
Sensed in shear-clipped winds.
Conformed to metrics known,
Stored in static din.
Gleaned dank basalts,
Cleansed in acidic brines.
Revered in epoch journeys,
Reflective chards, refined.
Swelled electronic byte,
Taught from aged horse stalls, passed.
Fashioned again … and again,
In common mass.
Untouched by Siren Skye Songs,
Modern Art & Contemporary Crafts
Stop a minute and consider.
Modern means NOW. Contemporary means NOW. That’s all. It means it’s happening now. The Art world, the Craft world are making ‘stuff’ now. Phew! That’s a relief.
Free at last from the deliberate obfuscation of a label – and there are many labels out there used to confuse us, to make us feel stupid because we ‘Don’t get it’.
I refuse to be taken in. I refuse to bow before the condescension that trickles down from the disseminators of the myth.
Does it come from the makers, the artists? No, I doubt it, although, goodness only knows that artists should never be allowed to talk about their work. Those with talent should never discuss – actors, painters, potters, just get on and do it, leave the mystery intact.
Because this, surely, is what it is really all about.
Those of us who can’t, feel a need to explain, dissect, discuss, understand. And the more the audience has tried over the centuries, the more complicated we have made it, the more we have built up layers and layers of explanation around a piece of ‘Art’ so that, eventually, the Art is living behind a brick wall, barely visible, protected, hidden, safely put away.
So, in the NOW, let us do what we were always meant to do – just look, experience, use. Look at the painting. Experience the play. Use the jug.
Sometimes we are changed instantly – a play will move us, re-order the neural pathways in our brains, we are not the same person when we leave the theatre.
Sometimes the use of a beautiful jug as we pour milk in the morning re-assembles the holiday we took in Cornwall, the little shop where we bought the jug, the sunshine, the sea. Sometimes, it’s just a very good jug and no less beautiful for that – thank you William Morris!
Sometimes a painting leaves us questioning, imagining, catching it out of the corner of our eye as we walk away, wondering if it will tell us more, reveal something.
Art? Give it Time. That’s all. Don’t buy into the hype, the labels, the ridiculous chattering of the pretentious monkeys.
Just give it Time.
Our Day in Court
I have a friend who practices intellectual property law in Houston. I emailed him the basic facts associated with the NAE and its identity system since 1973, including the disuse of the name and logo that stretched between 2002 (the bankruptcy) and 2015 when Derek resurrected publishing. He said the case looks like something that might be used in a law school exam.
In summary, his opinion is that common law provides sufficient protection for Derek’s current use so that the rebels would lose if their use is contested. While he thinks a letter from an attorney should be sufficient to cause them to cease, my sense of the rebels is they would not pay any attention. But, if taken to the next level you should win, rather easily. My guess is, based on what he said, is that they would not be allowed to use “newartexaminer.ORG” as a domain name for a competing publication, even if they change the name. Merely paying the domain registration fee does not convey total rights. Heck, it does not even convey ownership in the capitalist sense; it is a lease that is valid only as long as you pay, and do not violate the many regulations surrounding domain names. There were cases of where speculators bought names of celebrities (example could be “TaylorSwift.com”) and then offered to transfer them to the celebrity for a large sum of money. They wound up being required to simply give them up.
According to the attorney, the two most important objections to your claim would be the fact your marks were not in use for 13 years, between 2002 and 2015. And that they were never registered with the trademark office in the first place. Registering them in 2015 would have made defending them a snap, but common law offers sufficient protection based on the fact Derek began using them again in 2015, was first to do so, and used them consistently since then. That is basically the same thing my copyright lawyer told me in the 90s, when I considered trademarking my software distribution entity. If someone had been using the same mark for the same basic purpose, even without registering it, common law would protect their right to continue use and deny my use. And so applying for registration would not be not warranted. (It was going to cost too much, so I never began the process.)
As far as copyright violations go, it is no longer a great advantage to register copyrights. International law is quite clear: Everything is copyrighted unless its publication explicitly states the material is placed into the public domain. There is no need for the “circle c”.
Thus, the Chicago group’s offering previous issues of the NAE for download is an egregious violation of law. Likewise with their use of your STATEMENT OF PURPOSE and, ironically, your EDITORIAL POLICY that initially irritated them to the point of revolt (as I understand it – maybe they were just ready to take over the store and used it as an excuse.)
Dear New Art Examiner,
What is the future of the Penwith Society of artists in St.Ives? What place has it in contemporary art?
The society has a large attractive gallery, run by a charity that it gives money to, in a complex arrangement that members and associate members find hard to follow.
After Kathy Watkins, who somehow came to run the whole caboodle, died, quite a lot of the associates, many in number but with limited chance to exhibit or influence things, turned up to an AGM, had their own meeting and formed a liaison committee to communicate between them and the 50 members. This, which I was a member of, lasted a while but has now given up because it was so difficult to make any headway and the mass of associates couldn’t be bothered to get involved when emailed.
So now I have been to the AGM. At least now there are AGMs and accounts that were presented and discussed although oddly not proposed and accepted by the meeting and not audited, to save the expense. It seems everything is plodding along as usual. Improvements have been made to the maintenance and lighting, sales are reported as doing well. Associates can send in ideas to the secretary when they get the agm minutes with her email. These may be considered by the committee of members but we won’t know, we associates , what they are because there is no communication system.
Most members and associates are fairly content perhaps. Members get their work shown and some associates do. The bias of choice is for abstract work, either of a constructionist, pure form variety or of what I call ‘Penwithy abstraction’ based loosely on looking at the landscape. Both are rather stuck in reverential homage to the past great and famous who had international reach, largely due to Patrick Heron’s work writing on art in art magazines and of course due to their being the latest thing at the time. Or you could say the torch of abstraction is being kept alight through difficult times.
Some representational work gets shown. Some members work is very repetitive but seems to be assured of hanging.
People who succeed in hiring the spaces for their own shows have more leeway to show photography, to give a performance or installation, to tack something up out of a frame, even to show work in a crowded way or too high up or not centred carefully as the members and associates work is always hung.
The London Group are going to come and members will show in their London space in exchange. I looked them up and see that they allow digital and video art in their shows, both probably anathema to many Penwith members.
The way the Penwith Society is set up means that the few, the members, choose the next members and perpetuate their own sort of art. (This applies to art societies in general such as the Newlyn, which has no associates.)The many, the associates , help finance the operations, probably tailor what they send in to try to suit the members who choose it or reject it, and thus a rather old hat although often quite enjoyable show results, often rather muted grey good taste with nothing to rock the boat.
In St.Ives there is a tradition of artists breaking away, forming new groups, as the Penwith once broke from the St.Ives Society. Now the St.Ives Society show a lot of the same artists but have a broader range of works and use guest selectors to attempt to make it fairer. They also sell The New Art Examiner.
Now for anything a bit more wild and cutting edge organised by a group, you have to go to Helston, CAST, or CMR project space Redruth, where I am a member, or to other groups. At Falmouth University when I was doing my MA in 2006 tutors used to say Redruth is the new St.Ives.
No doubt these new developments provide new opportunities to either keep going forward or get a bit stuck and protect their own status quo until others start something else.
Please, is my analysis right? What do others think and can we have a dialogue in these pages about art in Cornwall now?
PS I am an associate member of the Penwith and sometimes get chosen. As my studio is round the corner at White’s in Porthmeor Rd., I usually see all the Penwith shows.
Volume 32 no 3 Jan/Feb 2018 pp 3-4