Editorial – September 2016

Pictures of Nothing and Very



Bastien-Lepages, L’Hermittes, Holls, Caton-Woodvilles, Sickerts, Dixes, Groszs and Kitchen-Sinkers of today? Of all the places they really ought to be, they
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are not google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; to be found in Liverpool. As far as the latest google_ad_width = 970; John Moores (Walker Art Gallery until
November 27th) is concerned the world outside might as well not /* 9-970x90 */ exist.

What then are the painters in this exhibition up to? With the exception of

three of the 54 works (selected from 2,500 entries) they are concerned with aspects of painting itself. They seem exclusively devoted to navel-gazing irrelevance, and in some instances even seem deranged by it. Encouraged by post-modernism, coercive institutions, weak museums and the debased state of art education, they have been reduced to paranoia to the extent of

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painting pictures of nothing. And so inadequately limited has been their expensive further education that even if they wanted to they own no means of communicating to others.

All the painters in the John Moores can come up with is variants of the following drivel, google_ad_height = 90; and I quote from

the catalogue:


“My paintings are visual fictions with concrete reality.”

“I shift from one painting to src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> another, experimenting

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playfully with
mark making.”

“My practice

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is to construct paintings that fix colour and form in various, tense economies.”

“As I work, a painting’s alchemical make up, and the substance and process, is reflected in sync with my ideas and experiences.”

“My google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; work revolves around the merging of private and public spaces.”

“My practice explores perceptions of pictorial space and the extent

to which figuration can be used as a tool for pictorial enquiries.”

“As a painter, I enjoy the problem of using two dimensions to convey an experience of time and space in the //--> physical world.”

“My works are explorations of the art world.”

“My current paintings are an exploration of the intangible within the human condition.”

“My practice takes up aspects of inherently human activity that begin with the hand.”

“In my interrogations of the technical problems of the medium,

I frequently conceive of painting as a two-dimensional stage space that curtails fictive distance as it represents it.”


The judges are no better. Here is Ansel Krut, who used to be a serious painter, describing

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the winner (above): “The painting uses an almost minimal vocabulary


to open up a world of great sympathetic imagination. It touches on the nature of silence, on distance and on exclusion. But most importantly, it touches on the privileges