Guess What?! with James Gardner


PAINTING AS EVIL

This Thursday, May 5th, James Gardner
is coming to talk to us about the history of painting seen as an EVIL practice throughout the ages.

The artist is heralded as a valued member of society, a cultural producer that contributes to the visual and conceptual ethos of the community that they inhabit. It has not always been this way. Historically and contemporarily, the artist, and the act of representation can be seen to fulfill a much darker role, and is aligned with the occult, sorcery and the devil himself.

Peter Brown, for example, writing on the iconoclastic controversy of Byzantium in the 8th century, illustrates the stance the church took against artists and representation: “The artist, by forming a human image in stone or paint…is competing with God, is attempting to usurp God’s function. By so doing the artist becomes—in a literal sense—God’s adversary.” As David Freedberg reiterates, in his book The Power of Images “whatever [images] are made of, they are not of God, but of the devil.” In What Painting Is, James Elkins also aligns the artist and the occult by comparing the painter to the alchemist. Closer to our own era, we see this illustrated in the autobiographical white hooded figure in the paintings of Philip Guston, and even in contemporary media.

This lecture aims to investigate the other side of the cult of the artist and representation in contemporary and historical contexts. The lecture will consider this malevolent reading of representation and the artist in relation to power structures, cultural beliefs, mythologies and fables. It is worth noting, that the lecturer himself, is a painter, and proposes this subject out of the belief that the subject is interesting and will be entertaining to talk about, and does not aim to discredit or shed a negative light the making of images.

On the contrary, the lecture aims to highlight the magical potential of the act of representation, magical abilities of images, and the respective cultures attempts to undermine the power of representation by denoting the artist and his pictures as evil.

-James Gardner

Doors @ 6pm
Lecture starts at 6:30 sharp
PWYC – All door proceeds go towards the lecturing artist.
Refreshments will be available.

For facebook event click here.

GUESS WHAT?! is a talk series curated by Xenia Benivolski and Vanessa Rieger in 2011.

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