PRINT September 1981

Norman Toynton’s Grounds for Painting

WRITING CRITICISM HAS DISABUSED me of the notion that there is always an “audience” for painting, or for writing about it. Actually, there is almost no connection between what I have written about painting and the observable activities of viewers of paintings in galleries, museums, and studios. Though this appears to be a sociological remark, it really is not. There can be no audience for painting if there is no audience for thinking. To observe someone’s thinking (manifested), you must participate in it. It is part of the function of a medium—whether paint, language, musical tones, or whatever—to make this possible.

As I see it, the most valuable purpose abstract painting can have now is to clarify the potential of painting as a mode of thinking. This is one of the aspects of the art that representation tends to misrepresent. (Only artists as capable, or as obsessed, as Cézanne, Morandi,

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