• Nurit Shany

On the concept in the process of painting

In contemporary art we search a concept.

The dictionary describes the word concept as an idea and a thought.

The process of painting usually involves an effort to translate a 3D model into a 2-D representation using tricks and stunts by which we creating lines, stains, and color that respond to light and shadow. Learning the technique takes many years and many painters who paint from a model feel that their style comes to fruition only in old age after decades of work.

Light is a leading concept. Light and darkness are the first archetype in human perception. When you draw an object with visual analysis of light and shadow, you experience, mold, sense and react to light. Painting is a creative act that evokes all senses. Textures evoke the sense of touch, tones the sense of taste, rhythms the sense of sound and the totality is a visual image. So the painter is constantly busy with the concept of light.

Nurit Shany, 'The wish', oil on canvas, 70X70 cm

But in the artistic conceptual art, this blessed and aesthetic act is considered only a technique, though by drawing his full attention to the model the painter draws a human story, reflects a human perspective, and its style can evoke feelings such as tenderness, wisdom, love, madness, old age, childhood and more.

Gestures, and small variations in the physical aspect of the process of creating a painting, the artist's body movement, small choices of laying and raising a brush or pencil create the painter’s stylistic signature. The style is created naturally and automatically. It is customary to say that a style of painting is like a manuscript or sound signature and there are no queries or questions about the style, which brand the artist and make it easier to identify his or her works.

Why did the artist's style become a Tabula Rasa?

Because of the artists? Because of the historians? Because of the researchers? Because of the collectors? Is it the strength of an unbroken habit?

There is great power in style, it brands the artist, it makes it easy to find by art lovers who use it as an anchor in the ocean of art and various experts or appraisers use it for valuation.

But once artists began to create conceptual art and use bits of life and readymade, painting turned into a concept mark. Conceptual art does not necessarily have a "pictorial" style. The work refers to content, meaning, which comes from verbal communication. A distinction is created between the traditional painting immersed in aesthetic translation of 3D and 2D and the conceptual art that explores a space of combinations between the literal and the sensual.

What a celebration, verbal communication that is common throughout the world, recognizable through education that teaches people to read, to write and talk about ideas. Suddenly there is much more to say about art. There is not much to say about painting because it acts on the senses as an image rather than verbally. They were used to say about it: Portrait, model, still life, landscape, or the name of the personas painted as a portrait: Jesus, Maria, King David, laborer, farmer, freedom fighter and now everyone can be like a journalist and articulate from one work of art a long article on humanity. By using pieces of life and assimilating them into the work of conceptual art, the conceptual art space touches symbolism and makes it possible to talk about art in a familiar language that is also spoken in the newspaper.

However, in my opinion, despite the new artistic space and familiar language, painting has something to give that the use of life pieces and ready made in conceptual art, doesn’t have. Conceptual art that uses mixed techniques is magical in the richness of possibilities and invention, in the open space in which to concept and talent combine, moving from literal expression to media top matter. But precisely because it uses bits of life, every choice already has meaning and one hardly ever experiences the refined subtle personal expression and style that painters acquire throughout their years of work.

The conceptual space uses the products of technology in a different context than expected. The artist actually travels within a dictionary of meanings in which he makes his own combinations. But often, conceptual art leaves the viewer in an alienated place and in the experience of a junkyard trip to create a costume for the concept. A conceptual artist's involvement is in the choice of objects and materials whose industrial origin is more alien to a painter's personal brush strokes that creates a two-dimensional image, but one that a painter's personal touch may add a human story.

What happens to academic painting when having a face lift, becoming a visual expression tool not only for 3D translation but as a subject of idea, thought and content? What happens to a painting that, apart from looking at the model, looks at the conceptual content of humanity? In my opinion a painting whose motive starts with the idea and goes on to the traditional pictorial action gives the idea of ​​empowerment. It elevates its creator from academic painting to a space of opinion, revealed in the spiritual realm. When the origin of a painting is not just for a 3D translation, it is driven to a new purpose, to expand cognitive perception by new angles of vision.

In my opinion, the artist's conceptual observation of content, before a model is chosen, may advance the painting and the painters step forward.

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