Depiction and the Picture, John Seed and Lawrence Gipe

Lawrence Gipe and John Seed are both fans of contemporary representational art. No easier to define than abstraction Gipe and Seed frequently take oppositional positions on a range of painters in their article  Depiction and the Picture: Dialogue on Contemporary Representational Art for Art Ltd Magazine.  It's helpful to understand what motivates an artist and a curators passion,  
John Seed remarks For me, it's not painting if I can't feel the electricity that travels directly from the brain through the arm to charge the brush and leave its tracks: its "petit sensations a la Cezanne."  They work their way through a range of artists from Vija Celmins to Anne Harris to Robert Longo discussing what they appreciate or don't appreciate about the work.  I enjoyed their lack of consensus as they each champion their own pets but when Seed dismissed Richter as a minor figure swept up by the art market and offered up F. Scott Harris as an exemplar, I was stumped. At the very end Lawrence Gipe mentions depiction provides the widest platform for artistic expression; it potentially connects with all layers of political, formal and visual issues.  I couldn't help wishing the article unpacked that statement.

Anne Harris, Portrait (Red Robe), 2008-2012
  Oil on linen, 52" x 33", Photo: Courtesy Alexandre Gallery 

Matthew Couper, Desert Rosa, 2013, Oil on metal
14" x 11"


  1. Hi Julia,

    Thanks for commenting on the article: its great to hear your thoughts. When you say you were stumped by my mention of F. Scott Hess I'm taking that to mean you don't care for his work... right? Regarding Richter, I have seen some things of his I truly liked but one of my personal projects is to try and see outside the market... which is very hard to do. JS

    1. Thanks JS, I certainly understand your desire to find exemplars outside of the market, although I would argue for Richter's paintings on merit alone. I find Hess's work technically competent yet overwrought, more Mannerist than Contemporary and for that reason found him a very odd juxtaposition. Painters such as Susanna Coffey or Ellen Altfest provide the ''charge' you reference, the painterly quality while also engaging me with their vision.


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