For some time I have been considering the role of painting in my life. In particular, the aspect of why I find painting necessary in contrast to the distractions offered through various devices*. In a world moving ever faster with greater efficiency, the stillness of a painting is crucial to keep grounded. For this reason alone, I think painting is necessary in retaining something of ourselves as new forms of mediated experience emerge. What is always lost, at least to me, is the human element, that touch. If abandoning reflection time for use of devices which steal away confrontation with one’s self, the value of such devices would appear a hindrance to personal development and human connection.
Perhaps it is too much to ask that painting counteract this situation. To ask that a painting slow us down to a pace where we can breath easier and focus a bit longer. At any rate, it’s worth reaching for precisely because painting is a matter of stillness. This enduring character fulfills an ontological need in our lives.
*By devices I mean cellphones, games, computers, or televisions. Such objects are not bad in and of themselves, yet the over use to which these are consumed and consume us is problematic. It perpetuates a skewed sense of reality and, in my experience teaching, has lead to many students trading lived experience for virtual experience.