Julia Schwartz interviews painter Joy Garnett about her work and studio process.
Garnett comments: "I think that painting is a radical gesture. Painting itself is a political act, an intervention, a détournement. By contrast, I don’t think it is truly radical or politically expedient to try to hitch painting or any art, really, to an ideological or political agenda. As is often the case with so-called ‘political art,’ the moment that a work pushes through a clear, unadulterated message, it stops being art and crosses over to agitprop — propaganda. It becomes a pitch, an advertisement for a cause that displays the trappings of art on its surface. Art, by contrast, when it functions as art, is not clear, it’s much weirder than that, and it does something more profound than promoting a particular message or political agenda. How can the age-old medium of painting serve as a radical gesture? To paint or to engage paintings as a viewer are activities that go against the grain. That’s where the politics of the everyday comes in. Painting disrupts the ubiquitous dominance of the electronic image, of all that is infinitely reproducible, streamed endlessly, transmitted instantaneously. A painting asks the maker and viewer alike to give up very different parts of themselves than what they have become inured to giving up. It is radical in terms of where we’re at."