Art or Palette?

I’m including this serendipitous piece here because the module has as its key objective the exploration of painting media and while there was no intent behind it, I think it has opened another door on both the way media can work and how outcomes might be judged.

I posted it initially on Instagram with the question, art or palette? Most people dodged the challenge but some made their pitch – it was art. I felt I had to come clean so I told them it wasn’t, it was my palette. One person said then that it was both art and palette, and we had a brief discussion about its aesthetics, which were what had caught my eye in the first place, and that set me thinking.

To me, contemporary art can be mystifying; what is it, what does it mean, is it just something nice to look at? Often there’s a design behind it, an intention, and it’s for us to experience the outcome, but sometimes there isn’t – or not much of one anyway. Spin paintings for instance, drips and dribbles and drops. So can something unintentionally ‘artistic’ or aesthetic be described as art? I’m not sure of the answer and maybe there isn’t one, but the piece in the animation is not a deliberately produced piece of work, it’s my palette. The thing is, I liked it.

I use freezer paper taped to a board and a sheet of OHP film to protect the paint from drying out. The acrylics underneath were very fluid and already forming density/fluidity bubbles when I left it unattended, but when I came back, one of my cats was sitting on it and adding her weight to those natural forces.

So, another question – is art about more than deliberate acts? Is it also about recognising the place of work that has made itself without any knowing hand in the process? Work derived from the elements the artist had put in place but without conscious intervention? These were my colours, my dilutions, my materials, but it was fluid dynamics (and let’s not forget my cat’s bum) that delivered the final composition, colour mixes, and distribution. Perhaps this is the beginning of curatorial discrimination – the ability to see something that works even if it wasn’t deliberately produced, and to judge that it has merit [because … because what?]

The animation is made in Pixaloop now MotionLeap, the choice of elements determined by my obsession with planetary exploration whether real or in fiction.

In the manner of Gilbert and George, this piece is (c) suzanne and flora conboy-hill 2020

One thought on “Art or Palette?

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