Category Archives: Art critic

Holes (particles) created from curves

It is the curved nature of the membrane 
that creates the structural interpretations — and when the work is presented in a flattened 2D form for observation — the trajectory path appears to be different.

Curled phase
The trajectory path (broken line) of the drill hole follows a short and straight path in complete space (unseen).

Quantum_brushstroke_Curls_Malcolm-Koch_2016_2

Flattened phase
When the curl is unravelled, the trajectory path (broken line) remains the same as it was above. Yet the path seems longer, goes back in time and appears networked differently when we observe it from this (human) viewpoint.

Quantum_brushstroke_Flat_Malcolm-Koch_2016_2

Quantum_brushstroke_Flat_Malcolm-Koch_2016_3

‘I’m inclined to think that…the 3D world is an illusion. The ultimate precise reality is the 2D reality on the surface of the universe’, Leonard Susskin*

*Source: What is space? 48:30s, 2015 www.youtube.com
Note 1: The holes (3 white marks on the membrane surface) should be viewed as the vectors created within the field. They aren’t necessarily the particles themselves but the negative space that’s require for them to exist on the 2D surface.
Note 2: A second phase dimension has been neglected from these diagrams.

Rorschach and Matthys Gerber’s work

The motif of the Rorschach reappears throughout Matthys Gerber’s work. In regard to this aspect of his work, I’d say it is the act of folding the ‘membrane’ rather than the effect of blots or duplicates created (a by-product) that is the aesthetic underpinning each piece. This is what I call Membrane Art — its belongs to another category. Once you recognise this, then other principles of the aesthetic thought open up.

It is worth watching the video and to hear his thoughts in conversation with Museum of Contemporary Art’s senior curator Natasha Bullock particularly his closing remarks.

When art lost its soul: Breaking the aesthetic drought

There has been a 40 year shift of priorities away from the aesthetics of painting, both abstract and representational, in favour of a political, sexual, sociological and environmental interest in art-making activities. ¹ ²  The cultural focus is now so predominant in art, particularly the ‘pop’ versions, which are led and controlled by the so-called Art world, it’s no wonder that the aesthetics—so crucial to the development of art itself—get little attention at all. ³  In the larger arena of intellectual and cultural life, it appears that we are comfortable with presenting work on the basis of the thematic ‘content’.

The lack of focus on aesthetics has not gone unnoticed. Mainstream art critics, dwindling as they are, have found themselves occupying an almost uninhabitable critical space for which they get drowned out. Recently, Andrew Frost wrote an opinion piece for the Art Guide defining where art is at the moment – in limbo waiting for things to eventually wash out. 4

Whatever the cause, the historical permutations that have led to the situation art critics and artists now find themselves, is largely irrelevant. The real driving force for innovation must come from artists’ themselves. This obviously has to happen before the art critics have something to say about it. And nor should it be up to individual talent. It requires group impacts on aesthetic thought, not individual talent working alone, but art movements working collectively to create visual-shifts that set the kind of agenda on our cultural life that was clearly present during the last two centuries up until the 1960’s, which is recognised as the peak of radical innovation emulated by a healthy mix of fresh and established talents.

Artists can do as Andrew Frost suggests—just wait for things to wash out, or they can act now. To act now you need a reason. You might think that this extended ‘aesthetic drought’, was reason enough, but clearly not. Likewise, hoping that things might naturally materialise because astute artists will suddenly find the resources and impetuous to collectively act is, unfortunately, not how it works either. I believe change is more likely to occur because commerce demands it. The fact remains that the aesthetics of art has been lagging behind the economic and cultural advances being made elsewhere in human endeavours, particularly in the sciences 5. Oscar Wilde put it, ‘life imitates Art far more than Art imitates life’. By this he was talking about all forms of expression. However this is not what we have been witnessing in the realm of painting. A correction is well overdue and commerce could be the vehicle that brings it to life once again.

After all, as a bare minimum, it should be expected that the artists’ obligation is to execute work that speaks to the mainstream consciousness, and builds on our material heritage, not just simply adds to it.

This brings me back to the aesthetics. I believe that I’ve found a reason—I call it Membrane Art. It provides a purpose and direction out of which a discernible aesthetic language has materialised. The release of Membrane Art: An evolving expression aims to start a conversation to break this long-held thirst. Whether it will prompt further discussion into the understanding and validity of those insights remains to be seen.

Notes:

¹ Art Pulse, Interview With Barry Schwabsky, 29 June 2011. See headline quote and his 13th comment. Barry Schwabsky interview

² Hilton Kramer, Does abstract art have a future? The New Criterion, December 2002. Hilton Kramer

³ German artist Katharina Grosse asks the question why there is a lack of discussion on the aesthetics of colour, April 2015: Painting with Color | ART21

4 A Critique of Pure Unreason, Andrew Frost, January 2015: Art Guide story

5 Book publication: Insight Radical – Where Science Meets Art, 2013. Project and Editor note’s by Carl H Schiesser and Renee Beale, p4-7. Online Abstract: Insight Radical

Picasso is an integral part of Membrane Art

Barry Schwabsky recently wrote: “Picasso, though he is still the popular byword for ‘famous artist,’ has been sidelined.” .

That maybe so but its certainly not the case for my work and Membrane Art. As it is the cubist principal of showing ‘multiple viewpoints’ on the picture plane that underpins Membrane Art. Take a look around this website and you’ll see why and more importantly how I’m trying to extend it. Membrane Art_150617

Favourite comment

As an art critic, Peter Drew has created a six part online series called Art vs Reality. All aimed at providing information, insight, humour and well-researched opinion on today’s Artworld. After each episode he invites comments from viewers and then ‘grudgingly’ responds to them. So, I was chuffed (possibly slightly flattered) to get his favourite comment to episode 3. ArtvsReality_response (approx. 2 minutes in)

Watch his entertaining series as it unfolds over the coming months: ArtvsReality

Here’s my comment in response to episode 3 (Street Art vs The Art market):
As you point out, Art like everything else repeats itself. So assuming that we are about the cycle of 1874, then the question might be: What is the modern-day equivalent of Impressionism (an Absolute aesthetic-idea) that can present a real alternative to the Artworld? The answer may evolve through subcultures but its only through Absolute ideas that provide the artist with a common philosophy or goal, so that he or she, or collective group, can bring about a sense of purpose and direction that may thrive once again outside the salons.

Hilton Kramer tribute

This is an article I read in 2003. It inspired me to think on a completely different level. Here the American art critic, Hilton Kramer summarises Abstract Art from his wealth of historical insight, outlining its checkered history, discussing its harshest critics and then hypothesis as to why he thinks it has become so marginalised in galleries and museums all over the world. Pointing towards Minimalism in its effects to diminish the aesthetic scope and resources of abstraction may have marked a terminal point in its aesthetic development from which it has not yet recovered. If he was alive today, would he be able to see Membrane Art as a clear sense of purpose and direction as do? Does Abstract Art have a future?

Richard Feynman on beauty at the smaller dimensions

“I have a friend who’s an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don’t agree with very well. He’ll hold up a flower and say “look how beautiful it is,” and I’ll agree. Then he says “I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing,” and I think that he’s kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is … I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it’s not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there’s also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don’t understand how it subtracts.”