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by Elaine Newington Ward :: Contact :: Portfolio
This is a satirical piece of work which looks at ‘art-speak’ or International Art English and the importance of the Artist Statement when presented in Gallery Exhibitions.
Pretentious, and art-elitist, vocabulary, which contributes to a sheet of sometimes, meaningless prose, often features beside works of little note. In such instances The Statement is so inventive, ingenious and often ‘toe-curling’ in its attempt at self-importance, it can outshine the art work and actually become the star piece of the exhibition.
In my piece of work ‘The Statement’ has become so important that it has its own canvas which actually obliterates the work of art it is supposed to be describing. It is coloured Magnolia, a passing comment on the walls of many homes where the artwork is a meaningless addition. The bland and featureless top canvas covers a painting beneath it, which looks as if it could be interesting. However, the only visible image is The Statement personified.
The inspiration has come from attending exhibitions where the Artist’s Statement was more entertaining than the paintings. It had its roots some years ago in a Rothko Exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Staff there suggested my husband and I may have to leave if we did not stop laughing hysterically at the perceived descriptions of Rothko’s state of mind when he was painting his three stripe series.
Materials; Acrylic paint on canvass. One canvas mounted on the other. Appliqued printed fabric. A large nail.100cms x 75cms.
The 'Art-Speak' Text on the canvas says;
This painting transports both artist and observer into a dimension which mirrors the self-obsession of the anthropomorphic critical narrative of contemporary conceptualisation. It is a paradox, of both meaning and meaningfulness, surrealism and absolute representationalism. I have imposed the recognisable on the abstract to create conflict and anxiety referencing the ubiquitous nature of artistic critique and statement. Anxiety is propounded by the realisation that the creative statement has stifled and suffocated the neonate to the point of obliteration.The predominant, palpable statement is unable to extricate its own self-concerned zoetic aspiration, to the extent of physically surmounting the integument of the new work and disconcertingly conjoining infanticide with internment. In this sequestered world the caudal appendage is oscillating the canine mammal.