Monday, May 4, 2009
En Plein Air (gentleman painter)
For my site work proposal, I hope to use the tradition of plein air painting as a way to comment on/engage with site-specificity. The tradition of plein air painting is part art groups/movement (see Barbizon school, Canada group of seven, etc.), part gentleman artist (see naturalist recorders and 'sunday painters') and part documentation (of land and people pre-photography). The remarks made that the Deep End Ranch was for a "gentleman farmer" are interesting in the sense that the perceived level of 'dedication' or expertise is evaluated by an outside source based purely on economic/production concerns (i.e. the ranch doesn't meet a certain level of produce). To extrapolate this onto an art context, are there economic rubrics (cultural capital) that are placed upon artists in order to decide what definitions of dedication (or legitimacy, expertise, etc.) they have? The contemporary context for an artist who engages in scene or landscape paintings is located in a specific art world. Like David mentioned last Wednesday, there are a variety of art arenas, and for the space of Santa Paula, CA, it seems that landscape/plein air painting is the primary focus. Attempting to channel this tradition will be another connection in this project.
Another source of discussion has been virtual spaces, especially the way technologies shape perceptions and realities (see Bjarki's post). By uploading my series of plein air paintings online and releasing them into the world of shared information, they will become another part of the "reality" of Santa Paula. In class it was mentioned the use of Google Earth to check out a place before actually visiting, to "see" it before experiencing it. Using these painted views to create a new 'view' of Santa Paula and the Deep End Ranch will place it within both arenas (virtual and historical) and hopefully create some sort of link or comment about 'site'.
I originally mentioned Flickr as the posting place for the work, but was mistaken and Google maps (and Google Earth) are actually linked with Panoramio, which tags the photos. I have uploaded one of the first paintings (View from Enbankment I (with dogs)), and will upload more once I have them completed and scanned. I tagged this photo in the closest approximation of the original painting location, as I do not have GPS, it will unfortunately be slightly innaccurate. (The last time I checked google maps a half hour ago, the photo did not pop up in the map view, so perhaps it takes a period of time before it appears in a general search?) The selection of locations for the paintings will hopefully adhere to the pastoralism and romanticism of landscape painting (and the West (capital W) / frontier, etc). The actual paintings will be displayed as part of the group show on the 17th in a TBD place.