NEW YORK—Nahmad Contemporary is pleased to present The Painter’s New Tools, an exhibition organized by Eleanor Cayre and Dean Kissick.
If you woke up today after twenty years asleep, you’d find the physical world hasn’t changed a great deal. You’d probably notice how everyone’s looking at their phones all the time, and how images are everywhere. How everyone’s making and remaking and communicating through images; and have, in a sense, turned into images on screens themselves. This is a moment of great transition. Your experience of the world is mediated by images, and increasingly takes place within the pictorial space of those images. It’s disorientating.
This has changed the way to think about painting: How can you make a distinct image in the face of this glut of images, this constant distraction, and is that even important? What are the painter’s new tools, and what can be done with them?
Surveying artists who push the boundaries of what painting can be, The Painter’s New Tools presents works by Ei Arakawa, Darren Bader, Kerstin Brätsch, Alex Carver, Kate Cooper, Aria Dean, Harm van den Dorpel, Urs Fischer, Wade Guyton, Kate Mosher Hall, Rachel Harrison, Camille Henrot, Tishan Hsu, Jibade-Khalil Huffman, Jacqueline Humphries, Alex Israel, Jesse Kanda, Scott Lyall, Helen Marten, Ezra Miller, Julien Nguyen, Albert Oehlen, Laura Owens, Seth Price, Richard Prince, Rachel Rose, Sarah Sze, Tojiba CPU Corp, Jessica Wilson, Jordan Wolfson, and Anicka Yi. These artists have found new ways of manipulating paint, and of painting without paint, by using software, CGI, code, AI, printers, tablets, phones and other image-making technologies. Many of these works are made in conjunction with machines, or even by machines. For centuries artists strove to imitate the effects of light with paint, and now they are able to draw with pure light, on canvases lit from within.
Great art embodies the time in which it was made and the changes happening then: through its form, content, medium, philosophy. Not only does it represent its time, it helps keep that time flowing. As Clement Greenberg wrote in New York in 1939, “The true and most important function of the avant-garde was not to ‘experiment,’ but to find a path along which it would be possible to keep culture moving in the midst of ideological confusion and violence.”
Now is the moment for art that expresses how it feels to be alive now, and how much the experience of reality and irreality has changed. For painting that explores how new aesthetics and experiences might be crafted. Given the abundance of paths opened up by modernism and contemporary art, combined with this century’s many new technologies, the possibilities available to an artist today are far greater than ever before.
We want to show painting that is vital and of the moment.
We want to show that new images are still possible.
That new modes of beauty are still possible.
- Eleanor Cayre and Dean Kissick
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