'Step Away From The Screen Please (Or, The Painting Student On The Road To Tarascon)'

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This paper positioned the teaching of first year Degree painting students in the context of ubiquitous screen technologies, digital and social media imagery, and how such a world might necessarily be challenged and questioned by placing painting within a different set of contexts. It further proposed that the relationship between painting and photography has long been misunderstood, both by many established practitioners in the field and also the student of painting- that it was the advent of an earlier ‘screen’, reflecting ‘the movies’ and cinema, that has been of much more significance to painting practitioners. The paper cited examples of painters who positioned the cinema, the ‘moving image’ and also ‘the outdoors’ as important and interconnected elements within their practice- R.B. Kitaj, David Hockney and Alex Katz, through to more recent practitioners such as Peter Doig, Kaye Donachie, Sarah Pickstone and Ena Swansea. Through these examples, the paper proposed that the painting student’s potential relationship with reverie, movement, action and walking could reveal to them fresh approaches and material for work, and more importantly help to dispel any notions that painting is an archaic visual form struggling for survival in an age of video art, iPad technology and Instagram. Other key reference points were The Swimmer (1968) directed by Frank Perry, Patrick Keiller’s ‘Robinson’ trilogy of films, Werner Herzog’s ’Cave of Forgotten Dreams’, Lev Manovich’s ‘The Language of New Media’, Van Gogh’s ‘The Artist on the Road to Tarascon’, and the recent Tal R exhibition ‘Towards Hare Hill’. The paper lastly proposed that the methodologies taught to a painting Degree student, particularly in the earlier part of his/her studies, could benefit from the direct experience of wanders out of the studio, away from the small screen, and back towards the screen of the canvas with a fresh pair of eyes. Furthermore, this ‘derive’ method of wandering through an actual city/landscape may well continue to serve the painting student better than endless drifts through the world of Google Image, where the Road to Tarascon seems a long way off.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeaching Painting: How Can Painting Be Taught in Art Schools?
PublisherBlack Dog Publishing
Number of pages92
ISBN (Print)9781911164104
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
EventTeaching Painting: A Conference - The Whitworth Museum, Manchester
Duration: 1 Oct 2016 → …


ConferenceTeaching Painting: A Conference
Period1/10/16 → …
Internet address


  • Painting
  • pedagogy
  • cinema
  • digital media.

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