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Showing posts from 2012


The contemporary artist, given a particular education and overall attitude toward what is considered historically important today, may struggle to communicate in terms that challenge them formally while at the same time addressing the need for a creative language. They may find themselves reacting to the scene overall or to specific artists who are lauded as the paradigmatic models for ‘quality’. In this situation, one expects to compete not for a position of mastery, or to produce a new generational legacy, but only to hold onto whatever degree of notoriety is bestowed upon them. Although genius is still a prized quality, it has become a quantifiable commodity, and not the ambiguous measure of idiosyncrasy that it once was. It becomes necessary for the artist of vision to look back upon art history for cues as to how to express oneself. In the case of Daniel Sewell, he chose Cubism as a creative language to reinvigorate a contemporary dialogue on form, esthetics, and the uses of hist…


If the need is pressing and the world is not forthcoming, then vision will dictate how the object of desire can be created (James Elkins, The Object Stares Back, pp 30-1).

A picture is not only a view onto the world, or onto someone’s imagination: it is a peculiar kind of object that sets us thinking about desire…. Looking immediately activates desire, possession, violence, displeasure, pain, force, ambition, power, obligation, gratitude, longing…there seems to be no end to what seeing is, to how it is tangled with living and acting (Ibid).

It’s long been said, to the detriment of true understanding, that artists live outside of society; what artist really desire is to understand society. Once they have expressed this understanding in their work, they can begin to make their place in it. The recent paintings of Thomas Frontini are proof of this. They present a version of the world that is Edenic, devoid of societal complication, yet metaphorically redolent. Each one is an allego…