Wednesday 31 December 2014

Fixing The Canvas

Among the many talents I have failed to obtain, art is one of them.  Also, it was a field foreign to me for many years, but later in life wandering around old buildings and tourist locations an interest began to form, born out of an interest in history and human progress, or lack of it.

A result is an interest in the TV programmes on the subject and some reading and visiting.  It was impossible not to wander around France and some other places without picking up a good deal of information.

When TV Sky Arts One put on the programmes "Portrait Artist of the Year", it was something to watch, easy to follow and better than the options.  One can have enough of mid week lower division soccer or crash bang drama or the endless repeat of documentaries.

Broadly, the world of British art today is extensive, complicated and with many schools of activity.  There are many and various deep divisions of thinking and belief on the all the forms and variations in this field.  Necessarily any TV programme has to cut to the chase whatever the chosen area might be.

By concentrating on a limited field, portraiture and with a clear structure it was intended for a more popular audience.  Personally, I could have managed without the knockout levels and the blather that went on with it, but it was meant to catch an audience for whom this would add interest.

There are three, not distinct, groups in this field as whole.  One is those who are at the top, exhibiting in major galleries and moving their works in the market.  Second, there are those engaged in the art world as practitioners at lower levels, teachers or such as well as working on their own account.

Thirdly, there are many with talent and interest for whom art is a major part of their lives, but who need to work to live and provide the money for their interest.  In the earlier series it was my impression that it was aimed at finding major talent in the second and third groupings.

This year, 2014, however, it emerged that the winner was already represented by a major London gallery and said to have works that could be moved and for whom there was a market able to pay the price.  In other words he had "made it" and was already in favour.

Sadly, life's experience has not only given me cynicism but a habit of thought to look behind the noise for things which do not quite seem to fit and the inexplicable.  In the various rounds  I had wondered about some of the reasoning.

In the final programme where the winner then painted a famous actor as a commission for a national gallery I had the distinct impression that the presenters and judges all had been given a script to stick to.

The result of the 2014 series, in my view and purely personal opinion, was pre-determined.

If Sky want to promote the work of selected artists and send a message out to all of us would they just do programmes that do that.

1 comment:

  1. I have a rule where nothing I see on TV is treated as trustworthy unless confirmed by other sources.

    Years ago I would have taken factual TV at face value, but not now.