Lily Le Brun interviews artist Tess Jaray, curator of the exhibition The Edge of Painting recently on view at The Piper Gallery, London.
Jaray comments: "I was asking myself why I think of these works [in The Edge of Painting] – works that I particularly admire and love – as paintings. They aren’t paintings in the true sense of the word, but nor are they quite defined as anything else. There was a period about thirty years ago when people would say that a drawing is a sculpture. Well actually a drawing isn’t a sculpture, but we like the idea: it has a certain enchantment about it, a bit of fantasy. But we haven’t really found a way of defining art without reference to style or material, and it’s curious that artists quite like to be called painters despite hardly using paint. It’s almost as though artists are aspiring to the condition of painting, even though they don’t use paint. In the same way, is has been said that painters aspire to the condition of music. Of course we can only aspire, we can’t do it, but that’s part of the search."
Elwes writes that the shows ofer "two quite different perspectives" on the continued relevance of painting. Painting Now, he writes, "and its accompanying text read like a research paper on an endangered species, a clinical exercise in which the work of five disparate painters is put under the microscope to see what clues it might yield to its continued and – in Darwinian terms – surprising existence in ‘what has come to be understood as a post-medium age.’" At The Piper Gallery, he continues, curator and artist Tess Jaray "turns the Tate’s assumption on its head by saying painting needs not words (or a rear-guard action) but a more imaginative and playful approach to the medium itself. The artists she has chosen... reflect her sense that rather than being adrift in a post-medium age, ‘now it seems, all art aspires to the condition of painting’. Here the medium need no longer be the message: indeed it is the medium – paint itself – which stands to limit painting’s progress."
Andy Parkinson blogs about the exhibition New Possibilities: Abstract Paintings from the Seventies at The Piper Gallery, on view through December 21, 2012.
Parkinson writes: "In the seventies abstract painting in Britain was in crisis. At least that’s how it seemed to some. If during the sixties it had become hegemonic that privileged position was on the wane. Peter Fuller would shortly declare American abstraction to be not much more than a CIA plot, within the discipline of painting figuration was in resurgence, whilst outside it performance art and conceptualism were fast becoming the dominant art forms, leading to the stagnation of abstract painting. The exhibition... of fourteen painters from the period (all still painting today)... counters this viewpoint, demonstrating that instead abstraction in this decade was vibrant and varied."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.