I Am Not A Painter

I am not a painter. Nor do I paint. I am a sculptor of two-and-three-dimensional space, as is any other artist working in tangible media.

Artists that employ physical media should immediately rebuke the titles of “painter”, “printmaker”, “potter”, or any other of the myriad. In our contemporary time, these antiquated denotations serve only as marginalizing classifications of the artist as a tradesperson. The dicotomy of these labels is that they solidified into mainstream art language at the time when the artist was elevated from tradesman to genius! Therefore, they have always been erroneous. Because of their inherent inaccuracy both intellectually and by definition, those practicing these arts must adopt the title of sculptor, if a title be needed other than artist.

When understanding painting or other mediums as sculpture, the entire process must be examined. A “painting”, for example, is comprised of many other materials than just pigment, which is a physical object in-and-of itself. The traditional “painting” has wooden stretchers, textile, primer, and the pigmented medium, all of which, solidified under Duchampian principles, are works of sculpture when selected by the sculptor. However, the elements of a sculpture are often seen by the art community and the public as flat images, which is a misguided notion because of the artist’s sculpting of both the physical medium and the space within the flat image. Modern and contemporary sculptors, such as Elizabeth Murray and Jackson Pollock, have made clear demonstrations that the painting should be seen in totality as a sculpture instead of merely a surface image. Only when art is viewed in this way can it truly be absorbed as a whole and the immanent expression observed.

The artist is a sculptor. I am a sculptor.