I wish I could announce a new art paradigm for the 21st century. A new art form which would clear the public’s confusion of what art is. A new art that would shatter the viewer's rhetoric of modern and contemporary art cliches. A new art of revolutionary forms that tell us where our civilization has been and where it is going. I'd then start by professing the new approaching era. But the art I want to talk about isn't anything new, rather it's a practice in succession of an ancient tradition. It is art which addresses our humanity not only in this century, but as a canon of human consciousness. This is the Art of the Atelier Age.
The artists of the Atelier Age are reviving and re-establishing the excellence in the visual fine arts. The artists of this tradition undergo a rigorous study to hone and perfect their craft. In these formative years, they'll study from casts of antiquity, nude models, still lifes and landscapes. The idea here is to immerse oneself with capturing life and communicating to the viewer the richness of the natural world. The old masters are demystified through copies and research. Traditional mediums and materials are used to make the artwork. It's no coincidence that today's society is reawakening to the value of traditional representational art. In the advent of digital media the power of original art has been reinstated.
What is lost in the digital world? The viewer looses his or her sense of immediate reality. The natural world has a direct connection to our sense of reality. But now with the rise of electronic media the natural and virtual world are integrating together. Amidst this merging perception of reality, the artist of The Atelier Age offers an old, but new portal of reality; Painting and Sculpture. These practices are as they've always been created to cater to a human's natural senses.
Let's illustrate this via a thought experiment. Let's suppose we're in a gallery, and on the wall there are 2 Mona Lisas. The first one is Da Vinci's actual painting and the other is a photograph on a LED Monitor. Obviously they looks similar, but the way we experience the images are completely different. The original has light bouncing off it into our eyes. The way we absorb the image is passive and natural; induced in a relaxed state. We can revel in the image without optical stress. The second Mona Lisa is glowing from the monitor. No secondary light source is needed because the monitor emits light straight into our eyes. This is a more active way of experiencing a picture. But in this state, the eye directly absorbing light from the source, we aren't as inclined to stare into the digital Mona Lisa. She is bright, but staring too long at her is stressful to the eyes. The power of original art is it's capability of retaining the artist's intent in picture making. Da Vinci's masterpiece isn't bound by the brightness of the screen or the contrast setting, rather if it's well lit or not. The artwork of the Atelier being of an organic traditional nature, caters to our perception in a simple and natural way. This allows the artwork to be enjoyed and engaged with more. This is something the artists of the Atelier Age are aware of.
The Atelier artwork also offers another level of sophistication which isn't immediately obvious. Most of these artworks are made from life. This means that a model, still life or landscape had to be present. The artist made marks or forms in careful consideration to what he saw. This documenting of perception is the foundation of representational art. It can be said that the artwork created by the artist is a document of his or her consciousness. For when looking at the artwork, you are not looking at the model, but the artist's mind. The work reveals the artist through his decisions and sensibilities. The artist of the Atelier aims to maintain this singular vision as he does his perception of reality while creating. This perception is the relationship of artist to viewer via the artwork.
Modern art can be partial to relationship between artist to viewer. The freedom and revolution to tradition which Modern art has historically proclaimed challenges clear communication. It's championing of theory and philosophy over direct craftsmanship or clear content confuses the public. This distorted relationship between artist and viewer although cute and clever at times, is a derivative of tradition and bears a limited cultural continuity. Such theoretical ideals is an awkward foundation to built a civilization upon.
The artists of the Atelier Age understand the implicit fallacy of contemporary taste. The open ended possibilities of art as defined by Duchamp is subversive; it creates a world of chaos and banalities. Standards and efficacy of art dissolve when the public is left wondering “Why is this art?” If not for the institutionalization of modernism, contemporary artists would have been rejected for their lack of clarity in communication. When skill and aesthetics becomes redundant, the virtue of craft is replaced with a shallow jest.
We, the artists of the Atelier Age are creating a legacy of our own consciousness. The artifacts that we leave behind are a testament of our humanity. We disagree the implications of the anti-aesthetic and it's deconstruction of perception. The art that we aspire to see and create invokes wonder, humility and the grandeur of human existence.