Charles Thomson “Top Hat”
It is quite clear to anyone of an uncluttered mental disposition that what is now put forward, quite seriously, as art by the ruling elite, is proof that a seemingly rational development of a body of ideas has gone seriously awry. The principles on which Modernism was based are sound, but the conclusions that have now been reached from it are preposterous.
We address this lack of meaning, so that a coherent art can be achieved and this imbalance redressed.
Let there be no doubt, there will be a spiritual renaissance in art because there is nowhere else for art to go. Stuckism’s mandate is to initiate that spiritual renaissance now.
-The Remodernism Manifesto
I have been dedicated to creating art pretty much my entire conscious life. I’ve been a working, exhibiting artist since the late 1980s. But my whole perspective on art underwent a profound shift in 2010, when I discovered a few powerful documents during some late night web surfing.
Coming across the Stuckism and Remodernism Manifestos was inspirational. Billy Childish and Charles Thomson were able to articulate ideas I’d long held but had not put into a larger context. They showed me I was not alone in my belief in the possibilities of art. They described a new way forward after the inevitable failures of nihilistic, decadent Postmodernism.
English artists Charles Thomson and Billy Childish
With Remodernism, they created an open source art movement, a convincing alternative to elitist snobbery, and a way to build on the traditions of the past to make the art of the future. I am grateful for their integrity. They demonstrated to me the grassroots are global.
Since 1999, Stuckism has spread to 236 declared groups in 52 countries. DIY shows and pop up galleries are common features for these independent artists, and there’s always some excitement brewing somewhere. In January 2014 I curated “International Stuckists: Explorers and Inventors” here in Phoenix, Arizona, hosting works from the USA, England, Wales, Spain, France and the Czech Republic. Stuckism Russia just held a show in Moscow in August 2015, and created a video of the opening. But the next Stuckist show scheduled is being held in a more established venue.
I am honored to announce I’m taking part in “Stuckism: Remodernising the Mainstream” at the University of Kent, Canterbury, England. 70 paintings from 42 artists will be displayed, including works from movement co-founder Charles Thomson and original members such as Ella Guru and Bill Lewis. Black Francis, front man of the legendary alternative band the Pixies and founder of the Amherst Stuckists, is also taking part.
Stuckists meet: Edgeworth Johnstone, Black Francis, Shelley Li
As Carl Jung stated, “All art intuitively apprehends coming changes in the collective unconsciousness.” Stuckism and Remodernism can been seen as harbingers of the growing rebellion against the presumptions of an entrenched and unaccountable ruling class, a revolt which is becoming increasingly visible in society. The movements will continue to grow until the facades of Postmodern sophistry are discredited and eliminated.
This is the piece I contributed which I feel perfectly captures the energy at work here. An image straight out of the writings of Mark Twain, but which evokes Kali, symbol of Time, Change, Power, Creation, Preservation … and Destruction. That’s the spirit of this age.
Richard Bledsoe “The Portrait of Emmeline Grangerford” acrylic on canvas 30″ x 24″
Studio 3 Gallery, Jarman Building, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7UG
1 October – 11 December 2015
Artists include: Philip Absolon, Floyd Anthony Alsbach, Virginia Andow, Richard Bledsoe, Godfrey Blow, John Bourne, Nick Christos, Jonathon Coudrille, Adam Crosland, Mark D, Elsa Dax, Hamed Dehnavi, Artista Eli, Eamon Everall, Black Francis, Andrew Galbraith, Ella Guru, Paul Harvey, Jiri Hauschka, Wolf Howard, Edgeworth Johnstone, Jacqueline Jones, Jane Kelly, Shelley Li, Joe Machine, Terry Marks, Peter Murphy, Bill Lewis, Persita, Justin Piperger, Emma Pugmire, Farsam Sangini, Frank Schroeder, Jasmine Surreal, Charles Thomson, Marketa Urbanova, Yaroslav Valecka, Charles Williams, Odysseus Yakoumakis, Chris Yates, Annie Zamero.