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Monday, August 07, 2006

Thomas Kinkade, Stuckist or Crap?

[ A reader of our website asked the following of us: "Just for reference, where would the likes of Thomas Kinkade, 'Painter of Light' figure in? Stuckist or crap?" Our answer follows ]

We reserve a special loathing for the works of Mr. Thomas Kinkade.

While Remodernists are champions of the painter's craft, and we work to bring figurative painting back to center stage in the art world, we are not advocates of just any type of painting - we are more discerning than that. We thoroughly reject Mr. Kinkade, that hackneyed, conservative, commercial painter who panders to the tastes of the tasteless. His happy little landscapes filled with cozy homes serve no other purpose than to paper over the cracks of an unacceptable reality. His paintings express a yearning for the past, but it's a nostalgia for an earlier period that never existed. All the same, we needn't pick on Kinkade excessively, there are legions of painters like him, he's just the most well known and the most successful.

The founders of the original London Stuckist group defined Stuckism as a "Radical international art movement for new figurative painting with ideas. Anti the pretensions of conceptual art. Anti-anti-art." That's a fair but simplified summation of a movement that has a diverse group of followers spread all across the globe.

Why "Remodernism"? Because contrary to what some deluded individuals may tell you, Modernism didn't fail and collapse, it simply became fatigued. Our view is that it must be refreshed, updated, and allowed to achieve its goals. That the modernist movement has had its extremes is no doubt true - but it is far from dead. The logic-defying idea that we live in a "postmodern" world is utterly ridiculous. For goodness sakes, we are communicating through computers hooked up to a global satellite system! Postmodernists proclaim that "painting is dead", and we are called "conservative" because we advocate the art of painting - this is reality turned topsy turvy.

Think of the many amazing painters who, starting in the late 19th Century broke from the traditions of their day to pursue a modern vision of painting. We embrace the Impressionists, Fauvists, Expressionists, Surrealists, et al - not as an "end all, be all" to the question of painting, but for the examples they left of what skillful, visionary artists can do. It is their example, their path, that we extol and wish to take forward. We insist upon a dedication to craft coupled with a clear vision. All of the aforementioned schools were against the status quo of their time, and for good reason - just as Stuckism stands against the dominant and entrenched "Postmodernist" mindset of today. At the core of Remodernist belief is the notion that artists should paint as if life depended upon it, because dear reader - it does.