What Is It About Painting?

Updated: Nov 26, 2018

Summer/Fall Semester 2018, Research Paper #1

"Strange Planets" (2018). Mixed media: collage, acrylic paint and oil based paint stick on canvas by Anne Barnes.

"From being concerned with nothingness, it became nothing."

--Thomas Lawson, Last Exit Painting.


In the initial paper for my MFA program's first semester we could write about any topic, but were required to reference the readings that we did for our Critical Theory I lecture class (basically the art history portion of the program in which we will study contemporary art from the critical perspective). All of the lecture time for our Critical Theory classes will be done during the 10 day residencies that I will attended on campus at Lesley Art & Design in Boston over the next two years. I attended the first of five residencies this past June, and am now getting ready to attend my second residency in early January 2019. In between residencies, I am working from my home studio on my art practice and each month we are required to write a research paper on various topics that revolve around our chosen medium.


As a painter, I thought I had to start off by addressing the critical argument that "painting is dead." This argument revolves around the idea that painting as a medium, once used effectively to advance valuable cultural symbolic messages to the viewing public, is now a medium that is essentially "dead" due to its inability to retain the public's attention. To read my paper entitled What Is It About Painting? click here or you can also access the file directly from my website annebarnesdesign.com and by going to the Portfolio/MFA Papers drop down tab at the top of the page and opening the PDF named Residency_1_2018_paper_1.pdf.

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