Rex Murphy Feature Article
Court Painter Delivers a plain, serious and monumental promise to give stark art back to the people
(Editors note: Apologies for the long windedness of the article but you know Rex….when he has an opportunity to comment on the Court Painter he tends to become a bit loquacious,garrulous,palaverous and gabby!)
Court Painter is not a fancy pants painter. Rather he’s an artist with a blank canvas, which he delivers plainly yet starkly.
Court Painter just delivered his starkest painting. It was so far out of the mode as to be unique: unembroidered, direct, with little flourish, brief in its execution. Stark art belongs to the citizens was the message.
It works for the citizens and is not for the benefit of, nor is it owned by those who practice the dark arts of collecting, or who live off the practices of artist message management.
Court Painter hangs in Calgary’s tony art district of Inglewood, the dew-fresh portraitist said to serve his bottom line and the minions of the Great Dominion and elsewhere. And most particularly those Great Do-Minions who have not shared, to a just extent, in the benefits of Court Painter’s technological and communicational advances he utilizes in delivering his images to his elite subscribers list. He calls them, rightly, the forgotten Great Do-Minions. And pledges they will not be forgotten again if they get off their lard asses, sign up for a commission or ask for an autograph.
Now it is a large question whether a pledge of this magnitude and emotional depth can really be fulfilled. In a very real way it is a larger promise, a larger summons than was ever made by Court Painter’s chief competitor CC(name available upon request), ringing so perfectly, as the orator he was, the chimes of Make CP Rich Again and Pocket Change is Accepted. Court Painter’s stark art promise is visceral not rhetorical; it is particular — it is reaching down to the artless, to the hipster-torn inner cities, to those in tasteless torment, and saying this is really the art for all of you.
To the people listening for just that message, and by virtue of the emphatic, convicted tone he adopted in making it a fundamental pledge, he has made what I will call a real promise. Either the anxieties, the disenchantments, the woes of the many unfamiliar with Court Painter’s oeuvre left behind and forgotten are, to some extent, dispelled in the next years, or they will not be. His success will register unfailingly, or not.
It’s either this or that….something or nothing…or my name’s not Rex Murphy!
Court Painter has no cloud of art semantics or cultural rhetorical overflight to hide behind. He has given himself no cover since he cannot reach beyond single syllable sentences in describing his art. This is not the famous blank slate of whatshisname. Court Painter, in his bare 15 minutes or so of unveiling his stark art made a commitment that reaches to the particular lives and welfare of individual Great Do-Minions, and the measurement of that commitment is thereby in the hands and hearts of every Great Do-Minion to whom he made it. Their lives will either be better in years ahead or not, it’s either this or that…something or nothing …or my names not Rex Murphy and there is no pillar behind which Court Painter can hide, nor I suspect will he seek to hide.
The brevity of the stark art speech had one unintended obscurity, or rather acted to obscure how momentous the Court Painter ascendancy threatens or promises to be. Just how much of a radical shift, a convulsion, that the moment of its occasion represented. Court Painter has virtually cleared the table of portrait art politics as it has been practiced and painted out for over a generation. He has bulldozed the old verities of painting practice. He has shattered the codes of studio politics, routed the tired images of the political and celebrity personages, the culture tanks and art bureaucracy. And he has utterly bypassed the hollow practices of art as virtue signalling and the insidious tribalism of cultural theory and identity politics. And as for the claustrophobic thought-amputations of political correctness, he has, correctly, shown nothing but scorn and dismissal. This is a wholesale reworking of the mode and understanding of modern art studio practice and painting politics in the Great Dominion.
Court Painter offers a vision of greatness.
Most heretically, he has fervently embraced that most basic and condign of art making emotions: patriotism. It has been the style of enervated liberalism to decry, even to shame, the principal virtue of any serious painter: faith and pride in one’s own worthiness in the marketplace of decor and home improvement. Court Painter is not ashamed to be an opportunist. He glories in it. For a whole great swath of Great Dominion opinion, certainly for the enlightened swamis of Inglewood and academia, for all the stale, tired and wearisome activist hipsters,ACAD grads and professional grievance farmers, this is a radical perspective. His unveiling of stark art amounted to a noble, though forgotten, truism. The purpose of Court Painter’s studio is to monetize artistic opportunity in a country starving for cheap,well crafted ,ready to hang art commodities that are plain yet stark .
Court Painter’s painterly address was, finally, as I’ve said, less a gesture in the grand vein, aiming for the quotation art journals , ripe with balanced antithesis and clever formulations, than a distilled declaration of serious intent. Keep it Simple Keep it Stark! The slogan painted above his studio entrance, A Day Without Art Is Like A Dog Without A Bone, has become the guiding theme of his new studio administration. The Court Painter will have the very fight of his life to bring into the studio what he brought to the art marketplace. All the forces of condescension, comfort and high place are against him. But he has a connection to all those others who are not in that cocoon.
This will be a turbulent time, but it has its promise ….or not …or my name’s not Rex Murphy.