Curating shows has become an integral part of many artists’ practices, and the essays they craft to accompany the shows are often akin to expanded artist’s statements. This week I’ll be posting excerpts from a few essays from recent painting exhibitions that were curated by artists.
In a generously footnoted essay for “Love,” an exhibition at One River Gallery in Englewood, NJ, Stephen Truax, known for his keen interest in conceptual approaches to painting, suggests that the pieces selected for the show are linked by “their approach, exemplified not by irony, cynicism, or a Conceptual apparatus, but their connections to the medium and subject of painting.”
Each art historical revolution is professionalized, subsumed into the art market and its institutions, and subsequently embedded into the Academy to be taught to the next generation of art students as part of the canon. It has become more and more difficult to imagine–or for there to be any possibility of–radical action in artistic production. As the archetype of the artist is deconstructed by contemporary curatorial projects, the identity of the artist is finally divorced from the artwork and its interpretation. As the definition of the artist and artwork is questioned/reinterpreted, and as advanced criticism continues to reject painting, over and over again, since the 1960s, why continue to paint?
And the answer is love. Truax says the artists he has selected have “a romantic and emotional engagement with painting and its history,” At the end of his essay, he even suggests that Conceptual artists are adopting painting as a strategy, too.
In this exhibition, I attempt to present a cross-section of contemporary painting being made in New York today by emerging and mid-career artists, underscoring the conceptual methodologies being strategically employed by painters, and how conceptual artists have turned to painting as a strategy. Painting is no longer relegated to the sidelines of cultural production, but is paradoxically at the forefront of innovation in visual art. These artists believe in the inherent value and the power of painting. They practice it sincerely, with a dedication one can only assign to a lifelong pursuit. Artists continue to paint because they love painting.
Believing that all painting, no matter how seemingly intuitive, has conceptual underpinnings, Truax makes a case that the old saw “dumb like a painter” no longer applies.
“Love,” curated by Stephen Truax, presented by Art Blog Art Blog. Artists include Ariel Dill, Tamara Gonzales, Marc Handelman, Christopher K. Ho, Clinton King, Chris Martin, Allie Pisarro-Grant
Christian Sampson, Joshua Smith, Chuck Webster, Roger White. One River Gallery, Englewood, NJ. Through December 21, 2012.
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