Provisional Painting

An interesting trend in the art world recently came to my attention at an art gallery in Denver, CO: provisional painting. The exhibit presented the concept of provisional painting as art that appears unfinished but is in fact complete. For a casual observer the concept can seem uninspired and quite frankly, lazy. But upon a closer inspection into provisional painting, you find an attempt to comment on the very nature of art itself. These works described as “provisional” lack the finished touches we have come to expect in modern painting. They hint at depth and detail that never come to fruition and leave us hungry for more.Raphael Rubenstein, a noted art critic, comments on the “impossibility of painting” in his essay Provisional Painting, featured in ‘Art in America’. Rubenstein presents the idea that the mere thought of painting a masterpiece is presumptuous to say the least, and has led young artists to “reject a sense of finish in their work.” This evokes the popular sentiment that no work of art is ever finished and could be a greater comment on the ever-evolving, unfinished nature of humans and society. It appears that provisional painting attempts to question the creation of art as a whole by exposing the preliminary stages of creation. The deconstruction of a painting could reflect a desire to deconstruct our definition of art and alleviate the pressures of creating a “modern masterpiece.” Despite the feeling of incompleteness and unease provisional artwork evokes, it begs us to once again reconsider our definition of art and how it fits into our lives.For more information:Art in America - Provisional Painting
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