The intention of this course is: 1. to reconsider the impasto in contemporary context and 2. take stock of the indifferences that may be associated with it (hence, the ensuing mannerism – we do, if only briefly, revisit the 16th Century writings by Pontormo and Bronzino). Is there such a thing as the continuance of an impastoed mark? How could we possibly simply look at the faint variances of graceful swags and drooping peaks and make sense of the painting as a surface well beyond anything that a flat field of ghostly concealments by a pictorial two-dimensionality has not given us already? And finally, we hope to explore the overarching idea of impastoed as something autonomous, as a kind of frontier apart from the form, medium or any particular exhibition. Moreover, in a letter to Benedetto Varchi (1548), Pontormo observed that “painting consists of material hellishly woven, ephemeral and of little worth, because if the superficial coating is removed, nobody any longer pays any attention to it.” Could this be especially applicable today and perhaps more so than at the any point in the course of Western painting? Isn’t this “coating,” in fact not only something which binds our traditions together, but also possibly offer the best way to pay attention going forward? Please note that the paintings in this session are encouraged to be “once removed” from the painterly conventionalisms of earlier periods. Contact me for more information and/or clarification this week.
* this is also a subject of my proposed session for CAA Chicago 2014. Cover Image: Boris Zakic, painting @ AWW, detail, taken in Jan. 2011.