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Painting by Conor Walton titled 'Still Life with Taste'
'Still Life with Taste'
oil on linen, 60 x 30cm, 1996, private collection
'Still Life with Taste'

I believe this is my first really successful still life. It marked the end a period of intense struggle and soul-searching, when I almost gave up painting.

The pinned page in this picture is from the C18th Scottish painter Allan Ramsay's 'Dialogue on Taste'. Ramsay was part of the intellectual circle of the great philosopher David Hume, and was applying his ideas. The essence here, summed up in the few lines of conversation between 'Lord Modish' and 'Colonel Freeman' about Houdibras (a minor C18th writer) and Virgil (a renowned classical author) is that pleasure is inalienably personal; no one can make you like something, and if you do like something, no one can take that pleasure away. Insisting on this is crucial whenever the upholders of 'Good Taste', 'Critical Consensus' or some doctrinaire system such as Modernism try to tell you what you should and should not enjoy and admire.

So long as no one is being harmed by the activity, if anyone ever tells you that you shouldn't enjoy what you do in fact enjoy, you can tell them to fuck off.

- Conor Walton, May 2021