Painting Problems


Problems in painting and painting problems, something that I am quickly starting to see as a painter. Many times has the medium been deemed to be dead and then brought back to life, but then a medium with so many problems makes it a great medium, allowing it to be approached in so many ways be so many artists. Allowing a fellow artist such as myself with an enormous amount of questions towards how to attempt on how to solve it, because a problem should be solved, however painting is not something to be solved but rather to be questioned.

Gary Hume in an interview with Brice Marden and Tim Marlow made a comment on being a painter which just opened my mind to a new mode of thinking.

“There are so many problems and they’re all solvable. And they’re solvable with no proof.”

The piece shown above was presented for a student led group show called “Obsession”, I made this piece in response to the word obsession and what I thought was relevant in the obsessions to my practice. I realized that one of them was being too precious or caring to my old paintings, having a hard time letting go, so I went against this and defaced an old painting and created a new one. To me I do not see a new painting but a growth out of the old, a continuance in painting. The shapes themselves are an abstracted form of a leaf I saw one day and was captured by its presence and thought of repeating and its shape, almost growing it in a way, having this obsession to fill the canvas with it. Seeing myself as a worker towards the painting, which is also letting go of a sense of authorship in my opinion. The quote above drew me into the thinking of the problems in my practice and whether seeing myself as a worker towards the painting is a solution, this painting is purely me dipping my toe into this “problem”. I see it as a starting point of creating a different relationship between me and the work and how that will affect the work in the space and its relationship to the viewers in the space. Saying that it is not a success is also wrong as it has done its job of enquiring my desire to painting and showing me that this is not the current direction which I want to be questioning.

Is this painting enough, has my desire of the process of obsession been fulfilled? Is it finished? Can painting be the proof of its own problem?

Manon Steyaert


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