Why does hand-made painting survive the digital age?

PAINTING was surviving in a digital age because it was the last stronghold, along with storytelling, of mystery, uncertainty, surprise, according to the judge of the 2012 Redland Art Awards, David Burnett.

Mr Burnett, Curator, International Art, Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, was speaking at the announcement of the prizes in the 50-year-old Redland art awards on Saturday night.

During his remarks he praised the artists who had entered the awards.

“To commit to being an artist is always a courageous decision and to gain acknowledgment for one’s effort through art prizes is one way to foster ongoing creative expression and vibrancy in the visual arts,” he said.

He went on to say that it struck him as odd that in an age of digital overload and total image immersion, hand-made painting continued to gain adherents and finds ways to reinvent itself.

“Its demise has been regularly declared since the invention of photography in the middle of the nineteenth century, but it continues to rise phoenix—like from its ashes to reclaim a place in the now vast array of media used for artistic expression.”

He said he thought the reason for this was that painting was like a specialised language that was understood through all the senses.

“It is driven by intuition rather than logic. It is an open-ended language, open to doubt and scepticism – resisting the need for certainty”

“It is an art that invites you to listen with your eyes, look with your hands, and feel with your mind. It may well be the last stronghold, along with storytelling, of mystery, uncertainty, surprise.

Mr Burnett said it was commonplace to observe that most children made marks – paintings and drawings – before they had fully mastered language.

“It is embedded in the archaeological record that humans have been making marks on surfaces for millennia,” Mr Burnett said.

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