Painting is in a perpetual state of change. Few definitions accurately describe the medium as a whole because of paint's inherent plasticity. From the application of each brushstroke on a surface to its final form, an individual painting is as unique as its creator. However, many contemporary artists who use paint are united in a common interest to push the inescapable historic boundaries of the medium. New American Paintings: Midwest Edition presents 39 different visions.
The exhibit loosely groups each painting into a section that reflects similar processes, imagery, materials or concepts. Some of the artists think about painting in an expanded way, using media other than paint to express their intentions. There are sculptural "paintings," some of which use no paint at all while others use paint as a sculptural material. Some artists address the political, social and cultural implications of the medium's history with unexpected materials like fabric, metal or plastic. Other use paint to consider the act of seeing, emphasizing the optical qualities of a treated surface. Many of the works probe the tradition of representation in painting with figuration and spatial illusionism.
The impossibility of narrating a contemporary history of painting is a feature of this recurring exhibition. This second iteration of New American Paintings: Midwest Edition demonstrates the diversity and seemingly endless possibilities of this most traditional yet flexible of artistic mediums.