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

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This essay 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 various contexts. The relationship between painting and photography has long been misunderstood, by many established practitioners in the field and painting students- that it was the advent of an earlier ‘screen’, reflecting ‘the movies’ and cinema, that has been of much more significance to painting practitioners.

Painters who positioned the cinema, the ‘moving image’ and ‘the outdoors’ provide important and interconnected elements within their practice (Kitaj, Hockney and Katz, Doig, Donachie, Pickstone and Swansea). Through these examples, the essay 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. Key references included ‘The Swimmer’ (Perry, 1968), ‘Robinson’ trilogy of films (Keiller, 1994, 1997, 2010), ’Cave of Forgotten Dreams’ (Herzog, 2010), ‘The Language of New Media’ (Manovich, 2001), ‘The Artist on the Road to Tarascon’ (Van Gogh, 1888) and ‘Towards Hare Hill’ (Tal R, 2013).

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 pages5
ISBN (Print)9781911164104
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 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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  • A Dream and an Argument

    McKenzie, D., 30 Jun 2017

    Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

    Open Access

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