Mind Map of ideas on this Theme is available in the Hard copy format
I have made an application to join The Alpine Fellowship for their conference in Venice. I met one of the founders, Alan Lawson at TRAC ( The Representational Art Conference) in California two years earlier and have been following the development of the fellowship since. They hold an annual conference, and request a 3 minute video as application to join them. Below is my slightly longer version:
Unfortunately the conference times clashed with the MA final weeks, so I need to apply again next year. They produce a series of videos of conversations and texts which explore the critical themes surrounding representational work in our current times. It has served me as a point of departure for my research, and offered access and links to philosophers and thinkers that I may not have known about otherwise. The theme of this year's conference "Chora" with a special focus on the landscape gave me great food for thought and reflection. As a painter of the landscape, and as a plein air painter I enjoy a special relationship with the process of painting within the outdoor environment. The painting produced during the filming of this video was accepted to the Royal Society of Marine Artists and is being exhibited at the Mall Galleries, London during their Annual Show in October 2017.
An introduction by Prof Roger Scruton is as follows:
The Theme for this years conference is introduced here:
I have found the somewhat conservative, Christian bias of Prof Scruton, alongside the traditionalist thinkers of the (largely American) philosophical schools he appears to align with somewhat troubling. Perhaps I am taking too broad a brush with my concerns, it's something that will need further study and attention.
The representational community in the US does, from my personal observation, seem to fall into two camps. On one hand we have those that reject Modernism and Post Modernism, and have great nostalgia for traditional painting, as well as "old time" traditional values. They may be polemical in their rejection of a great deal of the art of the 20th Century. Those in this camp are often Christian, and may have very conservative sense of morality and political leaning to the right. My conversation with some of these artists has become quite uncomfortable. Despite some protests that they want to keep their art world free of politics it is clearly quite firmly embedded in the discussions and forums I have encountered.
Those in the other camp are not concerned with tradition except in the manner in which it can inform new representational work, and these artists use traditional art's craft and aesthetics only as a way to inform and facilitate work. The new Representational Artist seek to integrate the skills and achievements of former movements in the creation of forward-looking artwork. These artists include those that work in digital formats and outputs, and have an inclusive rather than exclusive attitude to what is part of their Artworld. Certainly the admission at the end of the theme recognises the new nature of the digital.
As a Metamodernist, I find myself much more naturally aligned with the latter. Metamodernists are never purists, preferring the integration or oscillation between former schools of thought. I do better to integrate the lessons of the Modernists, Post Modernists, with say the Pre Raphaelites, Renaissance or Fauvists, rather than rejecting or deconstructing them as the Postmodernists would. Photography and digital manipulation is welcomed as tool, yet rejected as a master. Obviously one cannot mash the whole of art history into one thing and hope for anything good, discretion has to prevail. It seems foolish to support either the total rejection, or the complete return to former art movements. We live in our times, our contexts. We have tools at our fingertips never before enjoyed, we have access, at least digitally, to the art world on scale and depth never before enjoyed. Surely our best work will be that which takes full advantage of what the past offers fully combined with that of the present?
Proffessor Scruton has a long and distinguished career, and it is not surprising he has stuck to his traditionalist guns. Other members of the fellowship are much younger with currently less illustrious careers, and hopefully the fellowship will not become entrenched in the traditionalist thinking.