How to Look at a Painting: Series 1
Justin Paton is on a mission to show the rest of us why looking at a painting is worthwhile and to help us figure out how to do it. In this thought-provoking series, Paton demystifies art and answers the questions we might be too embarrassed to ask. What is there to see in an abstract painting? Why do portraits grab us? Is it wrong to feel exhausted by big-city museums? Why should we care about paintings anyway?
Part 1: …And Discover a New World
Paton takes us back to the place where he had his first brush with painting and fell in love with it. He shows how art connects us with the past and how the most important painting in your life is the one you’re off to see next.
Part 2: …Of the Body
Through the ages, artists have had a love affair with the body. But now that painting no longer has the naked body to itself, can painting still get under our skin?
Part 3: …Of a Place
Landscape painting has the power to capture not only how the scenery looks but also how a place feels. By zeroing in on New Zealand landscapes, Paton shows how artists can paint what we don’t see at first.
Part 4: …And Connect the Old and New
Drawing inspiration from the painted past, today’s artists can give a fresh lease on life to old works. In the process, they are bridging the gap between the new and the old-in this episode, between New Zealand and old Venice.
Part 5: …Of a Face
When it comes to portraits, how can paint compete with pixels? Are painted portraits worth looking at in our digital age? Find out how they can look back in time, at the wider culture, and at us.
Part 6: …And Take a Leap of Faith
When religious art came down from the walls of churches, it began a new life on gallery walls. Paton shows how religious work still addresses the big questions about our place and purpose in life and whether there is something bigger than ourselves worth believing in.
Part 7: …Of Nothing
Paton takes on the challenge of abstract art-paintings that sometimes “look like nothing.” He finds there is always something to say about these paintings that, instead of leaving the world behind, can often bring it closer.
Part 8: …That Wants to Change the World
Once a form of propaganda to tell history from the victors’ perspective, painting has become a way of speaking truth to power-a seemingly silent medium that is a voice for those who do not have one.
Part 9: …That Doesnt Look Like a Painting
Not always a canvas framed and hung on a wall, painting has now begun to flirt with other art forms and formats. But how are we expected to look at it when it no longer looks like a painting?
Part 10: …In a Museum
Visiting art galleries and museums can be overwhelming. Paton considers the challenge of trying to find that intimate moment with a painting in a public space-and why, with great art, there is always more to see.
Part 11: …And Start a Collection
Enter a world within a world-the world of the art dealer and the people who buy expensive paintings, where the thrill is always to find new pieces but it’s always okay to say, “I’m just looking.”
Part 12: …On Your Own
In our busy, fast-paced lives, why should we take time for paintings? Paton thinks of galleries as time machines where we slow down to look and where paintings look back, speaking to us across time and forcing us to take stock of our lives.