Thursday, January 12, 2012

trying to summon the archaic...

Here's something to ponder for painters...

TAAFFE: Essentially, I’m trying to make a primitive painting. I’m trying to summon the archaic. I want to enter into a primitive situation. This is my protest against the sensory deprivation that we experience, which is due to this tendency towards globalization, towards homogenization, towards the generic—a technological standard rather than an aesthetic standard. I’m mining history, trying to regenerate a pictorial situation that is more humanistic. It’s not about commodification, it’s not about fitting into some sort of corporate structure. It’s opposed to that direction.

That is part of this piece from Interveiw magazine which I found today.

October 2008 issue

I've posted on Taaffe here before in May 2009... an early post when I had just started blogging and was very uncertain about the way I wanted to present ideas. However... I was never uncertain about this artist and his paintings or ideas. Since discovering his work some years back now I found myself drawn... and curiously ... able to resonate with certain leading themes and ideas in his work.


Juncosa, Enrique (curator), Colm Toibin, and David Brody (artist interview). PHILIP TAAFFE: Anima Mundi. 128 pages, roughly 40 color plates, numerous color and b&w figures. Small folio, boards. Dublin, Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2011. Exhibition in Dublin. Book available through Ursus books and prints.

Composition with Egyptian Vessels 1998 
Mixed media on board, 32 x 24 in (81 x 61 cm)

Taaffe at work
I found the following quotes about his work here.

"What Taaffe has been doing now for almost three decades, as his paintings reveal again and again, is nothing less than bending the shape of time. He began by looking at art from the '60s; today he travels much further back, to earlier centuries, to ancient civilizations, searching for ways to reimagine the world in which we live that acknowledge those 'ancestral connections.'" 
Robert Nickas, Artforum, May 2008

"Mr. Taaffe aspires to the condition of an Oriental rug weaver: Strict yet playful, he intertwines a lexicon of motifs into inventive structures. Then again, great rugs usually achieve an internal dynamic; however much they play games with scale, they exude a sense of containment. Like mosques, they are conceived as symbolic portraits of the universe…In his new paintings, as much as ever, there is a bravura insolence in his collision of cultures, his insistence that everything can be reduced to ornament. But philosophically these sumptuous canvases can equally be argued the other way, as reminders that every ornament has its origins in something once deeply experienced. Mr. Taaffe's eclecticism long outgrew 1980s attitude in favor of an enlightened universalism. These accomplished, rich, thoughtful paintings mark the election of the artist as a trustee of what André Malraux termed the 'Museum Without Walls.'" 
David Cohen, The New York Sun, March 1, 2007


Well ... perhaps this is quite a foreign line of thinking for you?

There are, after all, so many approaches, so many philosophical view points and ways into painting. 

A title I've used for a painting more than once is "archaic, yet reverberating still." For me that is a really important idea and in Taaffe I find an artist who extends this thought quite profoundly through his work. He has been recorded in interviews, had a number of critical commentary pieces written on his work... and you can read more at his website. Also really engaging are his studio viewings here.

Its late so I will pop back tomorrow to check for spelling mistakes and such!


Anonymous said...

Well done Sophie. And very interesting. I am not acquainted with Taaffe's work so this was especially exciting. Something I keep thinking about in regards to painting is the old chestnut which has resurfaced in the US..."Painting is Dead." It is always exciting to see other ideas and attitudes in reference to the discipline!

Mlle Paradis said...

oh no, not foreign! looking forward to where this will take you Sophie! happy new year! i guess i'm back!

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

Do not worry about spelling...the information is so worthy and he is someone I had not been aware of. Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Janis said...

Happy New Year Sophie...
So much energy and information found on your blog! This is where the truth is... Thank you for a wonderful year of knowledge and art - looking forward to more of your meaningful postings (gifts!) and wishing you endless creative discoveries and pleasures. XOXO

Carole said...

Wow Sophie, did I ever get lost in this! Looked at, watched, read everything and an hour later I came back here to thank you. Thank you! Must get into the studio now. Have a great day.

ronnie said...

thanks for introducing me to something totally new! and terrif at that! (bonus!)

badlydrawngirl said...

Thankyou Sophie - once again a great blog.

Velma said...

new work to me, too. i will look more.

Carole said...

Hey Sophie, have you seen Rex Ray's work? He uses some of the same shapes and symbols.

Sophie Munns said...

Great to read all these responses ... thank you!

Mary, yes...the 'painting is dead' thing is out of touch. Clearly... if for example this artist is not so well known ...yet he represents a very rich vein of thinking/painting internationally!

Welcome back Mlle P... ahh... you see the relevance! Go well in 2012!!!

Mary Helen... i was so tired after writing this...its was pod to wake up next day and see your words!

Janis... touching to read your thoughts and have your appreciation.... a huge thank you to you...and may you be equally well blessed in 2012 friend across the Pacific! xo

Carole... o delighted you had a good peruse of the links... i do like his website... its solid yet so engaging! Nothing formulaic! Feels very much like an authentic who gets on with it!

Ronnie... good discovering ...a fresh angle perhaps...!

Meagan ... love your Earth Bangles... thanks for popping in!

Velma... you've been writing a lot of late... and photographing... can't believe you've not had more snow.

Carole.... yes...Rex Ray... a friend who managed a bookstore got me enthused about buying his book 5 years ago as she felt there was a certain commonality. I posted on him sometime in 2009.

I think I''ll be posting on this subject more yet... good painting and creating all!
S xo

ArtPropelled said...

Taaffe's paintings make me think of Ernst Haeckel's amazing illustrations. His work is very striking.
"Essentially, I’m trying to make a primitive painting. I’m trying to summon the archaic" ..... I also respond to this quote. Exciting!

Sharmon Davidson said...

Hi Sophie! I've been out of touch lately, but am so glad to see you're still on the march! Taafe's work is pure inspiration; I'll need to spend considerably more time digesting it. I have to say that I think your work also contains that "anima mundi', is more 'primitive' than his is some ways.
I notice also that you've read Barbara Kingsolver's book- what did you think? another Kentucky writer, I'm proud to say!