press release

Paint New York is at one and the same time a tribute to painting and to the city that has for so many decades been considered one of the absolute centres of the international art scene. Painting has continuously been a part of pace-setting exhibitions and artistic-aesthetic movements in the American context. It is precisely this strand of art history that the exhibition picks up. It gathers a number of the most progressive artists of these years—some with long, important international careers behind them, others on their way forward; but common to them all is the fact that they attribute great importance for their art to New York, and that each formulates an individual, important position in painting today.

The exhibition is deliberately heterogeneous in its visual concentration of a fantastic, captivating, constantly developing painting scene. For that reason the exhibition is gathering a variety of artists with an equal variety of backgrounds, interests and idioms, and will thus demonstrate the wide spectrum that is characteristic of the painting scene in New York.

The works at the exhibition shows many different modes of expression: Raymond Pettibon's works deal with American culture by way of a broad range of themes; from marginalized subcultures and art, culture, sex, religion and sport to politics and macroeconomics. Cecily Brown paints the human body in a tradition from the great European masters like Ingres and Matisse, but lets it dissolve partially into abstraction, so that the subjects almost disappear in rhythmic colour processes. Ellen Altfest also takes her point of departure in traditional painting and the classic genres: the still life, figure studies and interpretations of the landscape. Todd James and KAWS have a background in graffiti, street art and youth culture, and each in his own way has found a striking idiom that has evoked great resonance in the established art milieu. Sarah Braman combines sculpture and painting in a number of works that make use of the history and strengths of both media. While at the start of the 1990s Elizabeth Peyton became known as the new voice in contemporary painting through her portraits of artists, musicians and other cultural personalities, historical as well as contemporary, Katherine Bernhardt deals more emphatically in her latest works with abstraction and the pattern, but also with repetitive renderings of everyday objects. Joe Bradley constantly seeks out new paths for his experimental work with the medium of painting and works both with the figurative and with an entirely formal abstraction. Erik Parker's painting style, which mixes kitsch and the 'lowbrow' with painterly references to artists like Matisse, has helped to develop the figurative language of painting. Rebellious energy rules in Steven Parrino's works, whose visual-art legacy lives on in works by among others Gardar Einar Einarsson, Banks Violette, Terence Koh and Nate Lowman.