Maggie Siner gives a good summing up of the argument in her savvy painter podcast at about 14.30

painting is not coloured drawing it is a different language entirely it is the language of paint

a painting is a collection of coloured shapes on a flat surface

a painting is always abstract because all it is is a bunch of coloured shapes on a surface  whether or not they eventually recall something from the real world or not that’s whether we describe it as figurative or non figurative but the reality is that is it just some colours on a flat surface.



Pat  says  this is an argument I meet again and again said with little nuance.  I have problems with it.  On the one hand the argument uses this trope  ‘the language of painting’ and on the other hand they say it is always abstract just a collection of marks on a surface,  My problem is that if there is a language of painting then   you should be able o say that language is just a collection of sounds in the air and it is always abstract.  If you apply this argument to verbal language it becomes nonsensical   can they have it both ways??


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