Painting's Enframement

Painting by Martin Mugar, 24 x 24 inches (Private Collection)
Painting by Martin Mugar, 24 x 24 inches (Private Collection)

Martin Mugar considers the question: "How does one paint in the context of society enframed by the technological and the commercial?"

He notes that "painting, unlike our cyber-reality, [is the evocation] of personal time and [is] grounded in our body and mind. Painting still privileges the individual and their own notion of time. It is, as well, in an inevitable dialogue with all that painting has ever been, so that intentionally or otherwise the artist is forced to accept the history of painting. Its uniqueness lies in its ability to create time out of its own language, which forces the viewer to linger in front of it. It has physical presence that can only be experienced in a gallery, face to face with the viewer. It can just have a vertical presence that it imposed on the viewer as in a Barnet Newman abstraction. It can stop time as in Richter’s work, or disrupt our routine by turning the world upside down as in Baselitz. Make it repetitive as in Stella’s early work. Explode time into post-apocalyptic dissolution as in Pollock or dogmatically have color push and pull the eye into the canvasses space from the surface and back to it again as in Hoffmann’s work. Kelley by deconstructing the structural elements of the canvas that support the color in a sense dismantles time."