Painting Today: Commentary on Chapter 10: Death and Life

Past Echoes

The chapter opens up with a direct and forward discussion about our current cultural portrayal of death, and how this is “endlessly in the media but in real life is hidden away in hospices and nursing homes…” One of the roles of art has always been to bring discussion and understanding of death, illness and morning to the forefront of conversation. Art addresses issues directly, as in Tuyman’s painting Gas Chamber, 1986, which he approaches the unspeakable subject of the holocaust with an air of indifference, which in itself is even more unsettling. Tuyman believes that “paintings are always about the past, memories, echoes…” Even in pure abstraction, though there is no linear narrative to connect to a particular memory, the recording of mark becomes the past, and echoes material-based moments throughout process.

One thing for certain is that art has a therapeutic role for both the artist and the viewer. Through depiction of various stages of life, death, morning and remembrance, the experience of art can serve as a device for realizing profound moments often overlooked, for being faced with both terrible and beautiful truths about human existence, and for acquiring an understanding and acceptance of the cycles of life.

All content sighted is derived from Painting Today by Tony Godfrey, PHAIDON

                                                                                                                                                                    

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