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Deveron Projects

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Paul Shepheard

How to Like Everything?

2007

...expository reflection on, a value judgement of, the inheritance and context to which they pertain
George Steiner
A writing residency looking critically at Art Criticism

Art critic and writer Paul Shepheard was in residence at Deveron Projects in spring 2007, to write on his book How to Like Everything?

Criticism is traditionally based on a set of value judgements, whether this is subjective, or set in current trends or established 'rules'. However, this could be described as something of a negative method of criticism - defining positive traits through negation. In our current age of simultaneity and what some people refer to as the death of history, what would a new critical model look like? Is it possible to suggest a paradigm shift in a field that is largely unchanged since its inception? Can we go beyond the limiting and perhaps outdated values that consider the critic to be the dialectic of genius?

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Paul aimed to look beyond these oppositional tactics, and model a method of criticism on the way the world truly is, and consequently, how art is. Paul asks how to like everything. A difficult and complex question, but one that defines our times well when 'everything' is considered to mean 'all that is present'. The present contains everything simultaneously; past and present exist in our visual and material culture, as well as our memories - images we value as much as fine art. Such a criticism is an inclusive model, rather than exclusive, which results in a process of understanding things through context and their location in a network of objects, people, places, institutions, ideas, landscape and animals.

Paul developed a concept he referred to as 'everything places' in order to illustrate this, finding such a place at Lossiemouth (on the coast north of Huntly). This material analogy represented a 'temporal everything' in its complex landscape. Mountains, pig farms, a town and an operational air force base presented a diverse composition of time and space. With his new book, Paul brings the field of criticism into the new century, but also opens it up for wider consideration as a practice. It is open, yet he remains steadfast with regard to its boundaries as a field - he differentiates between creativity and criticism, primary and secondary communication, although it could be said that criticism is an inherent characteristic of creativity - embodying an 'expository reflection on, a value judgement of, the inheritance and context to which they pertain'. (George Steiner, Real Presences, 1989)

     

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