Paintings that are “self-contained”

There is this style of painting that I name “self-contained”. It includes paintings in which you encounter no struggle, no hesitation by the artist. Those are paintings created by artists who paint in the same manner for years, without challenging themselves, as if a challenge, a risk, could threaten their success as artists. 

I have once heard an artist declaring during a gallery talk that he doesn’t paint in large scale because he doesn’t know how to do it. I was tempted to ask him – don’t you ever get out of your comfort zone? Of course I said nothing to him, but I felt sorry and sad about that young artist. For me a day in the studio without a step out of the comfort zone  is a day wasted.  

When I enter a gallery or an exhibition hall with a paintings’ exhibition, I immediately know if the artist was bored while painting or was he taking risks, and therefore surprising himself with every work. It shows. 

When a student comes up to me and decalres that he “doesn’t have a distinguished style” I say – good for you. Now you know your paintings are not “self-contained”.