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Patrick Swift

Data de nascimento: 12. Agosto 1927
Data de falecimento: 19. Julho 1983

Patrick Swift was an Irish painter who worked in Dublin, London and Algarve in southern Portugal.

Citações Patrick Swift

„The Art of painting is itself an intensely personal activity.“

—  Patrick Swift

X magazine (1959-62)
Contexto: The Art of painting is itself an intensely personal activity. It may be labouring the obvious to say so but it is too little recognised in art journalism now that a picture is a unique and private event in the life of the painter: an object made alone with a man and a blank canvas... A real painting is something which happens to the painter once in a given minute; it is unique in that it will never happen again and in this sense is an impossible object. It is judged by the painter simply as a success or failure without qualification. And it is something which happens in life not in art: a picture which was merely the product of art would not be very interesting and could tell us nothing we were not already aware of. The old saying, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you”, expresses the opposite idea to that which animates the painter before his canvas. It is precisely what he does not know which may destroy him.

„The mass of modern art theory that developed around the fantastic changes of this century's painting can be largely ignored“

—  Patrick Swift

Nano Reid (1950)
Contexto: Each work of art is a complete entity existing in its own right and by its own particular logic. It has its own reality and is independent of any particular creed or theory as a justification for its existence. This is not to say that artistic development may be considered as a self-sufficient process unrelated to social reality, because art is always concerned with the deeper and fundamentally human things; and any consideration of art is a consideration of humanity. But it does mean that we cannot apply the principles and logic of the past to a new work of art and hope to understand it. The eternal verities with which the artist is concerned do not change, but our conception of art does, as does our conception of form, and these must be extended if we are to understand fully and basically the meaning of a new work. It is a complex matter, but the elemental principles are always simple. The mass of modern art theory that developed around the fantastic changes of this century's painting can be largely ignored; only one or two fundamental principles are important. Probably most important in the new aesthetics from the painter's point of view was the statement of Degas, seventy years ago, in his unheeded advice to the Impressionists. He spoke then of a "Transformation in which imagination collaborates with memory... It is very well to copy what one sees; it is much better to draw what one has retained in one's memory”…This attitude, and all it implies, underlines the work of practically every painter of importance since 1900. Ultimately, it meant that the day of stage props and models was gone, and that imagination was recognised as the most important quality in an artist.

„The interesting thing is what happens in the specific picture: its precision in terms of the sensations it produces — the illusion it creates and the effect of this illusion on the psychology opposed to it.“

—  Patrick Swift

X magazine (1959-62)
Contexto: The interesting thing is what happens in the specific picture: its precision in terms of the sensations it produces — the illusion it creates and the effect of this illusion on the psychology opposed to it. General philosophical and technical information however interesting in itself is secondary to this reality.

„My paintings are merely signs that the activity was engaged in.“

—  Patrick Swift

Portuguese Notes (Gandon Editions Biography 1993).
Contexto: Not to paint is the highest ambition of the painter but God who gives the gift requires that it be honoured. It is in the gesture that it lives. There is no escape. Picture-making is ludicrous in the light of the awful times we must endure. It is sufficient to contemplate the nature of composition to see that the picture itself is impossible. Each square inch of Titian contains the whole pointless — between the cradle and the grave. My paintings are merely signs that the activity was engaged in.

„I think that I probably have a real talent for painting trees if I developed it assiduously.“

—  Patrick Swift

Notebooks
Contexto: I think that I probably have a real talent for painting trees if I developed it assiduously. I want to give them great density and depth pile heaps of detail into them and yet keep the sense of presence which is the whole point.

„One cannot argue or explain in paint.“

—  Patrick Swift

The Artist Speaks (1951)
Contexto: Any painter who thinks he has something to say to the people, or anything to contribute to the world of ideas or literature, is treading dangerous ground; the influence of literature on painting is at all times dangerous if not deadly. Painting is a visual art; and the job of the artist must be to create in visual terms the tension experienced. One cannot argue or explain in paint. The aim is not to put in everything that will help, but as little as one can help, so that a picture is in one sense a “sum of destructions”. It is a question of honesty and courage: “One produces only the necessary” — Degas

„It may be that it is the odd, the personal, the curious, the simply honest, that at this moment, when everyone looks to the extreme and flamboyant, constitutes the most interesting manifestation of the spirit of art“

—  Patrick Swift

X magazine (1959-62)
Variante: It may be that it is the odd, the personal, the curious, the simply honest, that at this moment, when everyone looks to the extreme and flamboyant, constitutes the most interesting manifestation of the spirit of art.
Contexto: A situation has occurred wherein a premium is put on any work qualifying for the term "progressive"… The idea of progress in the arts; the notion that we move forward from one good thing to another in a simple progression and in a single direction... Baudelaire dealt so profoundly with this... But this can be said: if there were such a thing as a direct and simple progression from the work of one generation to the next the historical difficulty of the Progressive Artist could not exist... the popular notion of the Progressive and the New Art may not after all be the last word on a complex subject. That there may be, even to-day... such a thing as the absolutely modern. That as before it may be something unexpected, and not completely accounted for in the arrangements for encouraging the arts... For to be contemporary is not necessarily to be part of any movement, to be included in the official representations of national and international art. History shows that it may well be the opposite. It may be that it is the odd, the personal, the curious, the simply honest, that at this moment, when everyone looks to the extreme and flamboyant, constitutes the most interesting manifestation of the spirit of art... It may be necessary to be absolutely modern.

„His genius operates in that world of antithesis where the conflict between ideal and reality rages“

—  Patrick Swift

Some Notes on Caravaggio (1956)
Contexto: Caravaggio speaks to us out of a consciousness that is brooding and obsessive, and affects us in a way that is not simply artistic. By this I mean that he comes close to presenting us with a sensation of amorphous and desperate desire unredeemed by an authoritative vision. It can be felt in the apprehensive boredom of the unsuccessful pictures and in the oppressive intensity of the best. If this sensation were deep enough it might have destructive effects, since we all live within that margin of order which we succeed in imposing on life, i. e., on the unfulfilled longings of the heart, and his work might then be truly diabolic. His genius operates in that world of antithesis where the conflict between ideal and reality rages, and the moral victory, i. e., the ultimate affirmation of the goodness of life, is always so tenuously won that we feel the dread of chaos intensely- even when he is completely successful. If there could be such a contradictory phenomenon as the uninnocent artist he might be it. He indicates the sort of sensations we might expect from such a monster. But since he is wholly innocent beneath the apparent evidence of corruption he ends by moving us in a profound and religious way.

„I am too romantic to accept the dishonesty inherent in such a role, or perhaps it is my religious education.“

—  Patrick Swift

Notebooks
Contexto: There is the modern phenomenon of the artist declaring all is void, nothing is possible, and soon is making his fortune out of despair and emptiness. I am too romantic to accept the dishonesty inherent in such a role, or perhaps it is my religious education. Such a position cannot be a religious position. (I) do not accept that the artist should not engage in other activities though when he does he must accept a different responsibility.

„Art on the other hand speaks to us of resignation and rejoicing in reality, and does so through a transformation of our experience of the world into an order wherein all facts become joyous; the more terrible the material the greater the artistic triumph“

—  Patrick Swift

"The Painter in the Press", X magazine, Vol. I, No.4 (October 1960).
Contexto: Art on the other hand speaks to us of resignation and rejoicing in reality, and does so through a transformation of our experience of the world into an order wherein all facts become joyous; the more terrible the material the greater the artistic triumph. This has nothing at all to do with "a constant awareness of the problems of our time" or any other vague public concern. It is a transformation that is mysterious, personal and ethical. And the moral effect of art is only interesting when considered in the particular. For it is always the reality of the particular that provides the occasion and the spring of art — it is always "those particular trees/ that caught you in their mysteries" or the experience of some loved object. Not that the matter rests here. It is the transcendent imagination working on this material that releases the mysterious energies which move and speak of deepest existence.

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„It is precisely what he does not know which may destroy him.“

—  Patrick Swift

X magazine (1959-62)
Contexto: The Art of painting is itself an intensely personal activity. It may be labouring the obvious to say so but it is too little recognised in art journalism now that a picture is a unique and private event in the life of the painter: an object made alone with a man and a blank canvas... A real painting is something which happens to the painter once in a given minute; it is unique in that it will never happen again and in this sense is an impossible object. It is judged by the painter simply as a success or failure without qualification. And it is something which happens in life not in art: a picture which was merely the product of art would not be very interesting and could tell us nothing we were not already aware of. The old saying, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you”, expresses the opposite idea to that which animates the painter before his canvas. It is precisely what he does not know which may destroy him.

„Walk with humility in the landscape. To be some natural thing — an ancient tree — no thinking — not to think is central to the activity.“

—  Patrick Swift

Notebooks
Contexto: What trace of the creature subsists in the work. It is a way of staying alone, passing the time subjected to the object — silent, still. Walk with humility in the landscape. To be some natural thing — an ancient tree — no thinking — not to think is central to the activity.

„The ethics of art are terrifying because real art by increasing our knowledge of ourselves increases in exactly the same proportion the ethical commitment.“

—  Patrick Swift

X magazine (1959-62)
Contexto: There is a sense, and a very exciting sense, in which art is moral. When Stendhal says a good picture is nothing but a construction in ethics, one recognises a truth about art which opens up vistas that are at the same time liberating and terrifying. The ethics of art are terrifying because real art by increasing our knowledge of ourselves increases in exactly the same proportion the ethical commitment.

„In the remote purity of his solitariness, where the work of art is made, the artist is supremely the anti-social creature.“

—  Patrick Swift

X magazine (1959-62)
Contexto: It is not necessary to subscribe to the tiresome conception of the artist as rampaging Bohemian to understand that the activity of painting is socially useless, or at best occupies a dubious position... In the remote purity of his solitariness, where the work of art is made, the artist is supremely the anti-social creature.

„Each work of art is a complete entity existing in its own right and by its own particular logic.“

—  Patrick Swift

Nano Reid (1950)
Contexto: Each work of art is a complete entity existing in its own right and by its own particular logic. It has its own reality and is independent of any particular creed or theory as a justification for its existence. This is not to say that artistic development may be considered as a self-sufficient process unrelated to social reality, because art is always concerned with the deeper and fundamentally human things; and any consideration of art is a consideration of humanity. But it does mean that we cannot apply the principles and logic of the past to a new work of art and hope to understand it. The eternal verities with which the artist is concerned do not change, but our conception of art does, as does our conception of form, and these must be extended if we are to understand fully and basically the meaning of a new work. It is a complex matter, but the elemental principles are always simple. The mass of modern art theory that developed around the fantastic changes of this century's painting can be largely ignored; only one or two fundamental principles are important. Probably most important in the new aesthetics from the painter's point of view was the statement of Degas, seventy years ago, in his unheeded advice to the Impressionists. He spoke then of a "Transformation in which imagination collaborates with memory... It is very well to copy what one sees; it is much better to draw what one has retained in one's memory”…This attitude, and all it implies, underlines the work of practically every painter of importance since 1900. Ultimately, it meant that the day of stage props and models was gone, and that imagination was recognised as the most important quality in an artist.

„It is a question of honesty and courage: “One produces only the necessary”“

—  Patrick Swift

The Artist Speaks (1951)
Contexto: Any painter who thinks he has something to say to the people, or anything to contribute to the world of ideas or literature, is treading dangerous ground; the influence of literature on painting is at all times dangerous if not deadly. Painting is a visual art; and the job of the artist must be to create in visual terms the tension experienced. One cannot argue or explain in paint. The aim is not to put in everything that will help, but as little as one can help, so that a picture is in one sense a “sum of destructions”. It is a question of honesty and courage: “One produces only the necessary” — Degas

„It is the transcendent imagination working on this material that releases the mysterious energies which move and speak of deepest existence.“

—  Patrick Swift

"The Painter in the Press", X magazine, Vol. I, No.4 (October 1960).
Contexto: Art on the other hand speaks to us of resignation and rejoicing in reality, and does so through a transformation of our experience of the world into an order wherein all facts become joyous; the more terrible the material the greater the artistic triumph. This has nothing at all to do with "a constant awareness of the problems of our time" or any other vague public concern. It is a transformation that is mysterious, personal and ethical. And the moral effect of art is only interesting when considered in the particular. For it is always the reality of the particular that provides the occasion and the spring of art — it is always "those particular trees/ that caught you in their mysteries" or the experience of some loved object. Not that the matter rests here. It is the transcendent imagination working on this material that releases the mysterious energies which move and speak of deepest existence.

„The head, the face, the lines and features, contain everything for the painter who understands well enough to put it down.“

—  Patrick Swift

Nano Reid (1950)
Contexto: Nano Reid does not begin a portrait with any ideas about the person she draws. She is concerned with the head, its existence as a structure with certain characteristics. She is so much concerned with this that her portraits are inevitably deep studies of character and personality. The head, the face, the lines and features, contain everything for the painter who understands well enough to put it down.

„Since the deepest and truest dilemma, from which all good art springs, is the human condition we have every right to regard the needs of our own consciousness as the final court in judging the merit of a work of art, we have in fact a moral obligation to do so. This demands the precise honesty from the spectator as was required from the artist in making the painting. It is their common ground, the area within which communication can occur.“

—  Patrick Swift

Italian Report (1955)
Contexto: A more rewarding approach to painting, in my opinion the only valid one, is to regard it as a deeply personal and private activity and to remember that even when the painter works directly for the public — when there is sufficient common ground to allow him to do so — the real merit of the work will depend on the personal vision of the artist and the work will only be truly understood if it is approached by each in the same spirit as the painter painted it. We must be willing to assume the same sort of responsibility and share the dilemma out of which the work was created in order to be able to feel with the artist. Since the deepest and truest dilemma, from which all good art springs, is the human condition we have every right to regard the needs of our own consciousness as the final court in judging the merit of a work of art, we have in fact a moral obligation to do so. This demands the precise honesty from the spectator as was required from the artist in making the painting. It is their common ground, the area within which communication can occur. Art in the end speaks to the secret soul of the individual and of the most secret sorrows. For this reason it is true that the development that produces great art is a moral and not an aesthetic development..

„The Art of painting is itself an intensely personal activity… a picture is a unique and private event in the life of the painter“

—  Patrick Swift

"The Painter in the Press", X magazine, Vol. I, No.4 (October 1960).
Contexto: The Art of painting is itself an intensely personal activity… a picture is a unique and private event in the life of the painter: an object made alone with a man and a blank canvas... A real painting is something which happens to the painter once in a given minute; it is unique in that it will never happen again and in this sense is an impossible object... And it is something which happens in life not in art: a picture which was merely the product of art would not be very interesting and could tell us nothing we were not already aware of. The old saying, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you”, expresses the opposite idea to that which animates the painter before his canvas. It is precisely what he does not know which may destroy him.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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