Texas Tech University

2021 Texas Painting Symposium
Lubbock September 2-4, 2021

Christi Blizard

Painters are without a forum. They have no established meeting place comparable to the International Sculpture Conference, NCECA, or SGC International, which annually assemble sculptors, ceramists, and printmakers, respectively. On the face of this problem are the constraints of the medium: painting is marked by the apparent privacy and reclusion of the act. In the tradition of easel painting, the work seemingly takes place in the closed circuit between painter and canvas, withdrawn from the world; community is not naturally engendered by the shared use of a kiln or press. Deeper and graver in the problem is the sense that contemporary painting is a fragmentary discipline resistant to the consolidation and contextualization of art history.

Giving its name to a variegated terrain of artmaking that encompasses video, photography, and sculpture, painting appears "practically dismembered, torn to pieces and dispersed among many media" (Elkins, p. 41) . Conceived as free, plural, and unbeholden to its own past, painting risks "separat[ing] itself from its history" (ibid.). The separation and isolation of painting are costs acutely borne by its students: uncoupled from art history, they go about the fraught work of painting with no 'genetic code', and with no established forum, they are without peer review and without a professional network.

This symposium, entitled "Is Texas Painting?" is a means to refasten painting to its history in Texas, convoking a regional community of scholars, educators, artists, and students.

The Texas Painting Symposium has received support in part from a grant from the City of Lubbock, as recommended by Civic Lubbock, Inc. Additional support comes from the Ryla T. & John F. Lott Endowment for Excellence in the Arts, administered through School of Art.

Note: Elkins, James. "Why Nothing Can Be Accomplished in Painting, and Why It Is Important to Keep Trying." Circa, no. 109, 2004, pp. 38–41. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/25564180