To Lock Horns by Stephen Hornsby-Smith is an exhibition running at Chichester’s Oxmarket Gallery from June 4-17.
Cranleigh-based Stephen said: “I’ve called this exhibition To Lock Horns because I wanted to explore the contemporary challenges that face a painter when conceptual art, installation and assembly art as well as the digital video and tech art seem to have eclipsed the medium of painting.
“I’m developing and experimenting in new forms of painting 3D recycled work, but essentially, I’ve worked on canvases, sometimes cotton, sometimes linen for over 30 years. Painting isn’t just a medium of fast quick or a painting taking years to master! Or a throwing up of paint on canvas! Crucially its physical limitations, its frontiers shouldn’t be seen as an impediment to creativity but a unique challenge to let fly with full blasters on whilst learning the discipline and control of the medium.
“Furthermore, I am not intimidated by the much-publicised polar opposites – that make some people fade at the difficulties – of abstraction and representation that are meant to overpower and render painting old hat with nothing more to say! Indeed, modernism has a tradition of 160 years where its practitioners still find it a sponge for the youth of its tradition.
“It is unfortunate that the dominant conceptual art hides the inclusion of totalitarian regimes in Iran and China and therefore perpetuates the very freedom that all artists are meant to stand for. You can’t paint etc the paintings (in the same or any genre subsequently) that European Renaissance artists could paint in the 14th century, without being imprisoned! But you can be propaganda for Iran via ‘safe’ non-political and non-contentious conceptual art, of which notably Iranian women artists are entrusted to maximize PR in a globalised trade-off with globalised phenomenon of conceptual art; the quality may vary and the levels of cultural shock may depend on how far these artists’ are ‘allowed’ to be critical, but the message remains the same globally, one of conformism.”
For other stories by Phil, see: https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2