Steven Husby


Steven Husby

Work from his oeuvre.

“If this were a blog, it would begin, like ‘classical painting’, as Foucault would have it, with an assumption of a separation between its form and its content. One takes up the blog as a medium as a painter takes up the medium of painting, accepting certain limits as constitutive and others as mutable.

As one approaches the moment of ‘the contemporary,’ one finds that upon scrutiny, all limits of medium specificity are mutable, save one – each medium’s relation to its own narrative history. I would like to contend that in this sense painting – old, dirty, and undead – is paradoxically – more contemporary than the blog. By this standard of contemporaneity, as defined by what used to define the postmodern, but more so, painting’s confrontation with the depth of its own lack of being is constitutive, whereas the blog, by definition, is too busy with the day to day to be bothered justifying it’s severe limitations, which it simply assumes by denying them.

This should come as no surprise, since painting only came into its own once it was set free from service to the broader political economy. Ever since painting was laid off, it’s been making the most of its unemployment. Some, like Ranciere, would go so far as to assert that painting as we perform it not only came into its own, but only came into being at all – retroactively – as a way of seeing, once its function as mass communication was outsourced and transformed. In its woeful obsolescence as a tool of social control, painting performs the reconciliation of the mind and body, both for the painter and the viewer, one at a time.

All of which is not to say that painting does not manifest the tell tale residue of the social. How could it not? It is as prone to replicating societal limitations as we are. And yet, just as we are free to examine, challenge, and re-imagine those limitations, and thus transform them to some extent, painting, being in some sense a site in which the limit as such is tested and subjected to scrutiny, is also able to do more than simply model existing limits. Which is not to say that it always does so – simply that it can. The blog, on the other hand, insofar as it exists as such, rather than as the nascent form of some other new emergent medium, is an example of what Marcuse referred to under the term “repressive desublimation” – performing the distracted and anxious ‘mind’ of the body that is both over and under worked. ” – Steven Husby

Comments are closed.