Titles

The senile custom of allegorically titling art has persevered sufficiently in the recent past to justify unnecessary, uninteresting and often invasive forms of interrogation pertaining to the intellectual and creative morality of “the artist”. The judgement of authenticity upon whether an artwork was sourced at some (theoretical/socio-political) instance at the creation of the work, with the title and materials already selected, primed and in the vanguard, or whether the instance of the finished product was improvised along the way in a solid, pagan pursuit of the visual groove seems inevitably to rest with the “title”.

If a square canvas, painted blue, is titled “Square Blue Canvas”, everyone knows where they stand (“Hands Off! Don’t Ask!”). If the same square canvas, painted blue, is teasingly titled, let us say, “The Word Girl”, then questions are immediately asked, eyebrows are, indeed, raised, intellects aroused, theories dusted down, opinions offered, the critical impulse rising in eager, priapic anticipation of the yielding warmth of the barenaked genesis of the work, bathed in the flattering candlelight of its soft, mysterious “title” and, in a moment that looks like it will alst for hours and seems to be oh-so-good-to-be-true…the artist mentions that he nicked it off one of his favourite records when he was stuck for something to call it, and frankly everything goes a bit floppy (and as for the burnt out trollop that is “Untitled (title)”, then, ugh, don’t ask).

These paintings are official examples of my own creative practice, referenced by titles of my own (satirical/heretical) contrivance. They ministrate over the orthodoxy that brackets the production, display and interpretation of art, offering a pugnacious rejoinder to the cognitive taxonomy of the critic.

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