Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Tess Jaray at Exile


 The history of western modernism is one of secularization, no longer higher powers commanding but instead argued for in manifestos, the age of critics who proclaimed the usefulness of aesthetics (or anti-aesthetics) in a society increasingly industrialized and pressurized to extract value from everything, including art, and putting Greenberg on tirade, espousing the paradoxical function of an art ostensibly for only art's sake. The critic pokes the painting, saying "C'mon. Do something." The need for painting to "function" so sublimates into art that it becomes naturalized, becomes necessary. (Even art that is destructive, anti-, or wanton is recouped and given function by its "criticality," by saying things like its "opposition to dominant order." Immediately closed back into.) But so, precursor to Tomma Abts, painting as configurations, organized. We like organized paintings, because organization implies meaning, a function, a higher order. We like function, a use. A well constructed painting like a chair begins to feel functional, a painting like a Swiss army knife, capable of many situations.