In 2011, I visited an old friend at Newcastle University. With Andre Brodyk was Sean Lowry, now head of art history and theory at Victorian College of the Arts. In our conversation, Andre reminded me that we had never had an exhibition together and that perhaps we could organise one with a few other artists, including Sean. We then asked Mark Shorter and Mark Titmarsh to join us. In subsequent exhibitions we asked Haley Megan French and Tarn McLean. Since we were all doctors with PhDs in painting, we were called Brush-doctors or B-Doctors.
in our first exhibition, at MOP Gallery, and with our first five artists, our interest was an idea drawn from Mark Titmarsh's theoretical work, "Expanded Painting," with its beginnings in obviously staring with Rosalind Krauss's "Sculpture in the expanded field," (see Rosalind Krauss, The Originality of the the Avant-Garde and other Modernist Myths) and some difficult writing by Martin Heidegger. Yet Expanded Painting had already existed for some time so we referred to our exhibition as "re-expanded painting." (see Mark Titmarsh, Expanded Painting, Ontological Aesthetics and the Essence of Colour). Our position was that expanded painting practice consists of an attitude to any material - so any material could become a painting medium. This is quite distinct from other forms of expanded painting which was mostly limited to the conventional material media of painting.
However, expanding painting as an idea applied to any media whatever can overstretch its practice leading to tearing, destruction and its disappearance - the medium used for this ephemeral version of painting as and idea might end up discarded, ruined and unrecognisable. Our second exhibition, "Zombie Painting" at Stacks Gallery, also with the first five artists, was founded on the idea of expanded painting going to far, bursting and then being rescued from the rubbish dump.
The third exhibition, which included all seven artists, was going to be called "The Colour B" referring to the return of one of the precepts of painting, colour in painting. This idea of colour in painting extended to a range of material and ephemeral media. The exhibition was scheduled for 2020 in Kunsthaus Kuhle in Mitte, Berlin. It was cancelled due to COVID. reschedule for 2021 and then 2022 but remains in limbo.
B1 MOP Projects 2012
Re-extended/Re-expanded Painting was a group exhibition at MOP Projects in Sydney Australia. It included Mark Shorter, Mark Titmarsh, Andre Brodyk, Sean Lowry and Tom Loveday. Painting, like art, attempts to fill holes in hearts and minds wrought by life, work, politics and culture. But painting was already repeatedly killed by the middle of the 20th century due to the changing shape of these holes.
The alleged death of painting has provisionally released it from the conventions, practice and institutions through which it traditionally attends to these holes. Painting no longer seems to stand alone, without a contextualising argument, as a form of art in and of itself.. Consequently, in order to articulate painting; it must be grasped not as a practice but as an idea.
What is this ‘idea’ of painting? Narrative, image, expressive gesture, and false reality are some of the many ‘ideas’ carried by the conceptually expanded vehicular medium of painting. This exhibition attempts to articulate some of these ideas and more.
This exhibition includes video, installation, performance, and of course painting projects that attempt to service this re-extended idea of painting. We hope that this exhibition will present some new ways in which the idea of painting might fill the newly shaped holes of the 21st century.
More information can be found at the MOP Gallery Website: http://www.mop.org.au/archive/120125.html
Mark Shorter, Arrival (of Professor Schliemgurgeln), 2012 (Warning: naked body in this video)
Tom Loveday, Bipolar Bear, 2012, HD video (Warning: no naked body in this video)
B2 Stacks Projects 2018
Zombie Painting Wants to Live
The limits of painting are already stretched far beyond death – its death. Like a bloated corpse, the very foundation of the painted surface has burst open and fragmented, only to fall apart again—the pieces left to rot in the post-human wastelands of what used to be called art theory.
Dressed in the robes of scroungers, The Zombies of Painting have scoured the dusty piles of discarded words and failed practices to scavenge more body parts. After partially filling their hessian sacks, The Zombies returned to their damp and darkened caves as rheumy eyed Pygmalions still yearning for Galatea, where they construct the object of their venal heart’s desire.
Using these dead parts, not all of which match or are indeed sourced from painting itself, The Zombies reassembled provisionally new incarnations that once again resemble life. Then, using assorted pseudo-scientific methodologies; they re-animated their crafty work. Like Mary Shelley’s disturbed scientist Dr Victor Frankenstein before them, The Zombies of Painting have transgressed the founding principles of civilised morality to pursue their ends. The resulting “creatures” will be dangerous, unpredictable, and definitely not for sale. Instead, such a monstrous form must be experienced then mercilessly driven out into the polar wilderness of art criticism.
Painting has expanded to include both that which is outside its medium and beyond its prescriptive internal concerns. The result is art that fails to form any coherent medial unity, evidence of genius, or object of fetish. Consequently, this work is instantly recognisable as the work of regular art citizenry rather than as that of alienated bohemian artists. Today, these citizens protect the city of art in a manner reminiscent of the good Burghers in Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn’s 1642 painting The Nightwatch, a dismembered painting. These art citizens are The Zombies of Painting. They are now the ones standing before the void of outsideness to maintain the traditions of the city of art. Theirs are the traditions of transgression, resistance and denial founded in the classical horizons of 20th century avant-gardes.
The Zombies of Painting are Mark Titmarsh, Sean Lowry, Mark Shorter, Andre Brodyk and Tom Loveday. These artists routinely and omnivorously stretch the limits of painting to accommodate everything from video to performance to bio-tech and even the conspicuous absence of painting itself in order to critique the socially constructed worlds of the living. These Zombies of Painting seek to re-establish painting as a theoretical foundation for artistic practice generally. They want to somehow carry on living outside of the twilight zones of contemporary art’s cruel relativist quagmire.
Yet, it lives.
Tom Loveday, Gravity Wave, 2012, Video Installation, (Warning: no naked body in this video)