I’m dreaming of Flower Power

Animals and their relationship to humans is still on my mind. I have also been thinking a bit about the flower power movement of the late sixties/ early seventies. This was sparked by a very brief aside in Barry Schwabsky’s introductory essay to Vitamin P: New Perspectives In Painting. In defining the advent of post modernism and its repercussions for painting Schwabsky posits the flower power movement as one of a number of responses to emerge from the crisis of the failure of the modernism. He mentions it in passing, as a possible movement passed over in favour of the self-conscious rigor of what became known as postmodernity.

It has got me thinking that maybe we have missed something that we could well do with in the materialistic twenty-first century. Of course the environmental movement that was part of flower power continued and has finally forced its way into the mainstream, but it is a capitalistic environmental model, to suit the capitalistic times.

It is an ideological loss that I am concerned with. And I am not even sure that it was quite a brave new world(view). Maybe it was just a bunch of kids from the newly emerged leisure class discovering drugs. But still, the hope that we can be more than consumers who own stuff is worth looking back at.

If I understand it correctly, at its most basic, the flower power movement was an attempt to deliberately reposition humanity both in relation the natural world, in both in terms of environmental awareness and in relation to the constructs of culture such as gender imbalance, wealth disparity and the cultural violence of war.  This moment of self-awareness of our role in relation to human and  non-human others seems to me to have everything to do with the predicament of the domestic animal that I was discussing previously.

Art is maybe a reasonably fang-less way to address such concerns, but it seems to me relevant to bring these two things together and see what sort of post pop moment they can find together. I am feeling my way here, these are my first studio experiments. (or at least some of the more successful ones – there have been a few where, unlike my earlier post, bad has not been good)

flower pony trial 1
watercolour pony 2
ink and acrylic, 295 x 390mm

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