Gesture & Authenticity in Painting

George Hofmann, After All, 1, 2014, acrylic on board, 48 × 38 inches (courtesy o
George Hofmann, After All, 1, 2014, acrylic on board, 48 × 38 inches (courtesy of the artist)

George Hofmann considers the search for authenticity in contemporary painting.

Hofmann writes: "The most recent overtly gestural painting in our history, Abstract Expressionism, did not 'die', as many think – it withered, or more accurately, was strangled, by superficiality: a superabundance of empty and meaningless moves on canvas swamped the art consciousness of the time, the result of incomplete understanding, superficial interpretation and lack of feeling: the real, deep, crude and unmanageable overtaken by the banal. This proved, really, how difficult it was to make this kind of art, not how unsubstantial its source was... At that time a magical confluence of creativity emerged from disparate sources – Mexican, European, American – to produce new, and unprecedented, art, such as Jackson Pollock’s. We can’t have the same confluence again, but maybe present-day conditions can bring about deeper understanding: in art, we have had the benefit of the crucibles of other movements, conditions in society are unstable, and, in painting, and in some sculpture, the search for authenticity seems to be on."