Golconda Thumb.     Golconda is a singularly irrational painting.
  I think that is its strength.  I have recently been concerned about the rationalization of art, and of painting in particular.    In fact, in the wake of minimalism and with its most recent revival, I fear painting may be rationalized right out of existence.  I'm speaking rhetorically of course. All one need do for reassurance that there isn't the remotest risk of this is look at the work being done by students and faculty in MFA programs throughout the world, or leaf through Art In America or even Art Forum for that matter.  (See the February issue's cover story on Amy Sillman).

 But the critical effort to rationalize painting (let the rest of art take care of itself for the moment) is having its effect.  And so I've resolved  from here on out to do irrational paintings.  That is, paintings which do not "add up", paintings which do not succumb to the verbal logic  employed by say, Rosalind Krauss and Co. In “Art Since 1900".  I may also refer to them as the Columbia University Art Mafia and/or "The Gang of Four".

   Of course the easy way to make irrational paintings would be to eschew principles of design, color theory, drawing and so on.  That's the obvious and easy way.  I prefer to make irrational paintings using, some might say subverting, the rational tools of picture making; linear perspective, for instance, and some of the various conventions for constructing pictorial space both traditional and modern.   It requires some passing familiarity with such things in order to effectively deconstruct or subvert them. That brings me back to "Art since 1900" again and a subsequent article in Art In America's May issue: "Art Schools Symposium".   It's the talk of "deskilling" that concerns me.  The word comes so easily to verbal minds, which seem  oblivious to the pain and the pleasure associated both with acquiring and with learning to appreciate such skills, to say nothing of teaching them.  Of course the means for creating visual statements should never overshadow they're ends but who would seriously suggest that musicians forget how to play their instruments, or that grammar, punctuation and literary form should not be taught in schools so that writers can develop more "conceptual" modes of expression?

Ronald V. Clayton links:

1998-2000 Korea Foundation Fellowship tour

Southeast Missouri State University

Thomas Clayton: Videography/Cinematography

Fountain On The Plaza

Find me on Facebook at: Ronald V. Clayton (see images from a recent museum retrospective) or, fan page: We Love Ronald Clayton
                       contact me at: ronclay@yahoo.com       contact Addington Gallery at: addingtongallery.com      
                                                       contact Phillips Gallery at: phillips-gallery.com

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