Provisional Painting

I have been coming across this concept of Provisional Painting for a while now and have noticed that the work of quite a few of the artists I particularly like come under this catagory. For example  the artists Christopher Wool ,Richard Aldrich and Raoul De Keyser .Their work has a freedom which for many artists is difficult to achieve.Often seemingly unfinished- the so called errors and corrections left visible to the viewer.To me their work is interesting and more importantly, unburdened by centuries of tradition.The idea of the painterly masterpiece rejected for something much looser and lighter. Provisionality deliberately turns away from ‘strong’ painting towards something that risks collapse.Artist and writer Raphael Rubinstein speaks in his 2006 article ‘ A Quiet Crisis’ of a foundational scepticism in the geneology of modern art which began with Cezanne .

Raoul De Keyser asserts the impossibility of painting free of touch ups by leaving in the mistakes and accidents – or you could say – the failures as part of the work.Albert Oehlen manages to create images of force through  akward forms and  painterly abandon.Christopher Wool obliterates his painting as he makes them – the resulting erasures become the finished work.

Mary Heilmann treats paint as a medium free of weighty cultural expectations.Michael Krebbber approaches paint with a certain disdain.

Historical figures who relate to this practice would be Joan Miro and Martin Barre. Miro’s work can often suggest an artist at war with his chosen medium with the use of crude figures and doodling and corrections.Barre’s work is almost a form of anti-painting – unburdening it of figuration,colour or form.

Provisional Art is art at the preliminary stage – perhaps it can also be said to be  great art – great art  masquerading as the opposite.


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