Adrian Gilbert Art
  Home:: Background:: Studio Gallery News:: Portfolio:: Contact Us


4/10/13 4:18 PM

A blog like this is an interesting way of discovering what one has to say. The original date and purpose of this post was to relate some news - but it is no longer news - so I've decided to keep the picture and change the text.

Unlike "news", a fresh sketch like this one will remain fresh forever - or at least until the paper under it, disintegrates. An event some hundreds of years away - one hopes?


En plein air brush Drawing

"Fish River Forest" 2011. Original en plein air brush sketch using thinned out acrylic paint on paper. Approx 45cm x 80cm

Hmmm - but how long should we expect a drawing or painting or any type of art to last - and should artists consciously concern themselves with the material longevity of their work??

When I was at art school in the late 60s, it was still generally believed that; integral to the whole concept of "art", individual items of visual art should be made to last a very long time. But I now wonder, do many contemporary artists still consciously comply with such expectations? Do they even know how? 

In the last 100 years the whole concept of art has broadened enormously. Since the 19th century, modern then postmodern ideas and values plus science and technology have provided many more expressive concepts, mediums and material options for artists to work with - and no-one really knows how long such things will last in terms of aesthetic acceptability or materially. In fact, many contemporary artists believe that both the aesthetics and the material longevity of their work are totally unimportant - and I'm sure most of us agree - especially if it is art we don't like. But unless we are prepared to limit our interests in art to traditional approaches plus tried and true methods and materials (grinding our own pigments, concocting our own binders and glues, making our own paper etc, etc) our long term material expectations these days are bound to be based in guesswork and or simply trusting of the new technology and materials we buy - and 'aesthetic acceptability' always waxes and wanes with fashion, personal tastes and the relative understanding and appreciation of the viewer for the work in question anyhow.

Of course, an important aspect of this issue is the way the market place turns art into a tradeable commodity. Indeed, recent history shows, if a work of art is highly valued, then almost no expense will be spared in preserving the piece for posterity - or the next auction. This happens whether the art has been well made or badly made. So, is the material longevity of art really the responsibility of the artist or the new owners of the piece?

As an artist, I don't normally concern myself with such issues beyond using supposedly high quality commercially manufactured materials in ways that I think will last quite well. Because, while forty plus years of experience has given me a great deal of confidence in my judgement about such things, there's still no way of knowing how long a drawing or painting will ultimately last. There are too many unpredictable factors governing this. And anyhow, in the short term (my lifetime) my professional integrity is automatic. This means I will always accept responsibility for the quality of any work I do within the conceptual framework of the work in question. But from a creative and aesthetic point of view, it's far more important that I focus on the relative freedom with which I might express my ideas - rather than concern myself with issues of material longevity.

Leave a comment or query

Name (required)
Email (required, will not be published)

Please enter the text above