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Sunday, November 24, 2019

UNC-Greensboro Professor Michael Ananian reviews my book on Amazon

“Drawing and Painting” should be read by anyone who cares about the current state of art school education and its future. Mr. Mugar’s treatise about visual perception and the role of 20th century modernist art theory in the education of painters is timely and relevant, much in the same way as Charles Hawthorne’s “Hawthorne on Painting,” Robert Henri’s “The Art Spirit,” Ben Shan’s “The Shape of Content,” and Frank Stella’s “Working Space” were during the time of their creation.

Mr. Mugar asserts the primacy of visual perception and seeing as the basis for constructing any kind of painting or drawing, be it abstract, non-objective, representational, perceptual, etc. This challenges current thinking about art’s principal purpose as a mouthpiece for community-engaged political and social change that anyone who wants to engage in can. He accurately concludes that the form-as-content issues of 20th century modernism originate in the perceptual experience of the visible world and in the visual/cognitive functions of the brain. He makes a compelling argument that these ideas are still relevant and important if future generations of painters, curators, critics, etc. want to know how to look at and interpret painting and its history as visual experiences and not merely as arcane, sociopolitical artifacts.

Michael Ananian
Professor of Painting and Drawing
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

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