Robert Bateman On The State Of 'Wildlife Art'
Is Animal Painting Dead? No, But Our Culture, Environment And Depraved Society Need Healing
EDITOR'S NOTE: Canadian painter Robert Bateman wrote this essay in response to a guest commentary from his countryman Ron Kingswood in an earlier issue of Wildlife Art Journal.
By Robert Bateman
Is animal painting dead? The answer needs to be put in the context of the history of art. The idea of revolution and progress, which was very hot and lively at the beginning of the 20th century, is now dead. The thinking that “if it has been done before, it is not worth doing again” brought forth a lot of clever “isms”. Most of those “isms” have run their course but some are still around in one form or another. As with many things in that century, the tempo of creation and subsequent rejection speeded up until Andy Warhol’s prediction came true, “In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” This “always new” motto ran out of steam decades ago – I’d say in the 1970s. Of course, following that philosophy has led to frustration and futility on the part of artists striving to make their mark. This fact may be at the heart of the question addressed in this essay.
Is animal painting dead? Forty years ago some were suggesting that all picture painting was dead. One professor of Fine Arts at a Canadian university said, “Burn your brushes. The future of art is with neon tubes.” That was in the 70s. I am always eager to see what...
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Post Date:July 22nd, 2011
'Ron Kingswood incited the wildlife-art loving masses when he penned an essay for Wildlife Art Journal titled "Is Animal Painting Dead?" Here, famed Canadian painter and environmentalist Robert Bateman pens an equally thoughtful and sharp-pointed response. He holds nothing back. And he even says it's silly to call "wildlife art" wildlife art. And we agree. Frankly, we think it's one of the most forceful commentaries written about wildlife art and its relationship to the Ivory Tower. No matter where you come down, you will not be disappointed.