Posts Tagged ‘tradition’

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

On the one hand, the artist Josh Smith makes one-liners – ironic conceptual art regarding the pretensions of artistes to express themselves. He does so by making his signature and the banality of his own name into the graphic focus of paintings that otherwise read as AbEx style abstractions.

On top of this, irony is generated by his massive output. Smith paints dozens of these abstractions at a time and one can read this, too, as a joke on the naiveté of expressing oneself after postmodernism.

On the other hand, though, it is through Smith’s decidedly unironic dedication to his practice that he is able to introduce an element of sincerity and perhaps the sublime into his work.

Smith has figured out a way to continue the tradition of painting by activating not so much the canvas – which, it should be said, he does admirably – but rather, by activating time.

He knows that there is an impossibility to saying something in one painting. This is not to say that the paintings are not good – they are; amazingly so considering the level of output.

However, the art here is that he keeps making these paintings again-and-again-and-again-and-again so that a whole different type of thing begins to emerge – what Stanley Cavell might call festivity rather than festival, or religion rather than revelation.

The art here is in the process, in the dedication to daily practice and evolution.