The Picture in Question Response

If, as architecture students, we are to look at this read as an example of how one man -Tansey- used his medium as a means of critiquing the profession as a whole we could draw parallels to an abundant list of 20th century architects who like their modernist painter counterparts strived to break the mold of architecture in various ways. The ailment for architects is however that they often had to compromise to economic factors before concepts could reach realization whereas painters, as Taylor points out, sometimes did everything they could to resist the idea of their work as a tradable commodity subject to economics of the day. However in the rare circumstance that a “paper” architect is permitted the budget to play out his fantasies to the extreme as, Eisenman was allotted in House VI, we see how quickly basic structure can fail and how necessary economic pressures are to the practice. In this way architecture separates itself from the economically more feasible to produce fine arts such as painting and sculpture.  The time gap between conception, production and completion makes Tansey’s method of critique of the field through production within the field more difficult to achieve in architecture.

Tansey’s ideas about meaning and the sensual nature of image are ever present in architecture, which finds itself forever precariously placed on the sliding scale between the dichotomy of meaning and feeling.  Combining textures, words images in a unique way of working layers of paint on a canvas Tansey breaks preconceived rules about painting espousing emotion while provoking thoughtful reading into the logic of his critique.  Architects have always wrestled with the interplay between logical meaning and sensual feeling.  After reading Taylor’s analysis and praise of Tansey’s complex combination of affect and logic students of architecture (ever full with ambition rebelliousness and often deprived of client and budget) will undoubtedly go forward saying a Tansey-esq combination produced in painting can and should be adapted to the much richer spatial experience found in the three dimensional medium of architecture.  I have yet to figure out for myself if this thought process is applicable to a profession much more limited in production ability. Or maybe, due to its lasting implications on persons and the environment, it is all the more important to strive towards architecture as rich in affect and embedded with meaning and social critique as Tansey’s paintings.

Could Tansey’s work be said to be both too specific and too broad, not appealing to any genre but drawing ideas from many? The same way moderate politicians can’t be elected present?

Could Tansey still flourish in an age of overblown technology and information sharing where the Hyperimage and pop culture continue to move and shift philosophies in art and design more rapidly than ever?

Is there an example of an architect who works spatially in subtracting in order to create positives the way Tansey erasures to create figures?


About mhgoblue

Architecture Undergrad University of Michigan

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