Minneapolis, November 6, 2012—At a time when artists may work without obligation to medium, why choose the materials of painting? What does it mean for an artist to assume the role of painter today? And just what is at stake for a new generation committed to the medium? The Walker Art Center exhibition Painter Painter presents the work of 15 emerging artists from the US and Europe, most under the age of 40, in a focused survey of recent developments in abstract painting and studio practice. With expanded online content and public programs, it also considers the ever-shifting role of the painter in contemporary art and culture. The exhibition, the Walker’s first group painting show in over a decade, is on view from February 2 to August 11, 2013.
The exhibition features new works by Matt Connors, Sarah Crowner, Fergus Feehily, Jay Heikes, Rosy Keyser, Charles Mayton, Dianna Molzan, Joseph Montgomery, Katy Moran, Alex Olson, Scott Olson, Zak Prekop, Dominik Sittig, Lesley Vance, and Molly Zuckerman-Hartung.
Painter Painter posits abstract painting today as a means, not an end. For these artists, painting is an open-ended and generative process—one that is rooted in the studio but nevertheless open and receptive to the world. In recent years, as abstract painting has once again become more prominent in the field and the art market, a new generation has opened up fresh territory for the medium by sidestepping its entrenched discourses and dogmatic pitfalls. With a fascination for painting’s minor histories, they freely pursue new languages of abstraction and eccentric methods of making. Yet they also affirm new relationships beyond the specificity of their medium; today, painting increasingly crosses paths with sculpture, poetry, film, design, fashion, publishing, music, and performance, as well as disparate histories of art, craft, and visual culture. Indeed, the title of this exhibition—Painter Painter—is meant to highlight the term’s slipperiness as these artists recast its various meanings in our present moment. While the painters in this exhibition identify as such, their roles remain as fluid and open as the medium itself; and within that freedom, painting becomes a conduit—a way to make contact with a world beyond the closed frame of their formal invention.
Painter Painter is curated by Eric Crosby and Bartholomew Ryan, Assistant Curators, Visual Arts, Walker Art Center.
As a complement to the exhibition, walkerart.org will host a series of online studio visits with the artists. Offering an open-ended look at their interests and working methods, the postings will be as varied in approach as the work of the artists themselves.
Opening Day Talk
Saturday, February 2, 3 pm
Critic Michelle Grabner and critic and poet Bruce Hainley, together with the artists and exhibition curators, use the exhibition as a conversational starting point to think about painting and abstraction today.