|Michael Boles, The Generation of X, 2011. Aluminum and copper.|
27" x 54" x 1." Available for purchase–please contact the artist.
I find attempts at the replication of reality on a flat surface to be as difficult as it has ever been for those who attempt to do so. Whether it is representational painting or photography, it still fails to transcend into reality. Transmission of information is and always has been a significant and important facet of what artists do; currently art manifests to a large extent in the form of imagery that suggests immediate conditions with regard to consumer-based realities and excesses. This legacy is not hard to understand and follows a distinct line from Duchamp through the blatant and "in your face" work of Warhol.
Social reflections such as these have become increasingly pessimistic and unflattering, which is probably as it should be. This, however, is not what defines art; it is merely a facet of the general pessimism of many artists being reflected in some descriptive manner, but does not accurately define art in the broader sense.
Even some of the original purveyors of pessimistic approaches, Ad Reinhardt, Robert Morris, and many others, believed that an awareness of the history of art was important to be able to define the here-and-now. It is as if they sensed, as I do, that the historical "stream" of art is culminating into a large pool with little or no discernible direction. Frank Stella even suggested this when asked at his Metropolitan Art Museum Exhibition of 2007, if he felt that modernism had "run out of gas." His reply was that the notion was "baloney," and that the things that were strong would carry.
Some have tried to quantify and classify the current trends in art; however, art does not seem to want to follow any recognizable path at the moment. Traditional methods of understanding imagery or lack of it cannot be easily applied, therefore the merit of works must be determined by some other means. Much of this merit comes from a consumer based origin and mindset, and mirrors the culture precisely. This enormous "quilt" of directions can only be seen through the eyes of one who evaluates it sometime in the future, and the truly meaningful designs upon this quilt will become blatantly obvious.