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Saturday, 27 September 2008

Texture in Painting

Visiting the Tate Modern last Monday, I took a look around a current free exhibition Sign and Texture as well as some of the newly hung permanent exhibitions. As I was looking at these paintings it occurred to me that they were not being used to their full potential. AndrĂ© Masson’s paintings with sand create a lovely grainy look but viewers are unable to run their fingers over the gritty medium. Fred Williams’ thick paint blobs add an extra layer to his oils on canvas but the 3D effect would make more of an impact if we were allowed to trace the hilly landscapes of the pieces with our own hands.

But I guess museums just can’t trust us to clean our hands first.

I know there are some exhibitions where the audience is allowed to touch and play with the art, but I’m not aware of any that let you simply feel the surface of a painting. Perhaps I’m just weird, but I like to fully experience beautiful things, and touch is a wonderful way to really engage with a piece, especially when the artist has put so much effort into making it tactile. Am I alone in this?


Joanne said...

You're not alone! It would be great to enjoy a painting with our other senses!

I find it hard in gallerys sometimes, to really enjoy what I am looking at. But then I am much more interested in performance, but I don't know if that is a factor in my taste. I think it is because the work is static. It is reare that I really love a painting.

It would be wonderful if we were 'allowed' to feel the texture of a painting. But in art, everything needs to be preserved and kept which is good becuase it means everyone has a chance to see it. Our culture are so fixed on preserving old things and keeping paintings nice. Was it the intention of the artist to paint so that his paitings could be kept immaculate for years and years? Why do we intend on keeping certain art and making more important than others? Perhaps even making it stale?

Artsadmin said...

have a read of this

Joanne said...


I like the story about Duchamp's 'Urinal' when it was first exhibited. An artist urinated in it and the gallery were outraged, but then the artist said something like it didn't matter because Duchamp's intention was to demonstrate that any object could be art when presented and exhibited by an artist. The story went something along those lines...