Does the contemporary art world find something dangerous in beauty, something radical about that?
I think a lot of contemporary art is very nihilistic. It’s not able to deliver anything beyond the idea of paucity–of the sensory deprivation that we feel. I think a painting is an important opportunity to deliver something, to transport the viewer, and it’s not necessarily about physical notions of beauty versus the sublime. It’s about a certain activity or exploration where you come back with something….I don’t think I’m cynical at all about what I do; I don’t think there’s any alternative to believing in the infinite perfectibility of each and every one of us. For me there is no alternative to that. If that can be held in a painting, that is what I try to achieve.
–Philip Taaffe, being interviewed by David Coggins. Art in America, October 2008