Monday, November 09, 2015

Painting up a storm

It’s always fun when art curators put themselves on the line and make a list of who they think are the most important in their field. It’s an old tradition. MoMA’s Dorothy Miller famously did it with her contemporary Americans series (mainly painters) although, as we once posted, these best-of-the-bunch picks are usually only good for around a decade, and sometimes less.

This year the Auckland Art Gallery has decided that 'painting has arguably never been stronger in our contemporary cultural environment’. Now that might sound pretty contentious but the Gallery is launching with rather a lot of fanfare later in November Necessary distraction: a painting show. What sort of mix has curator Natasha Conland come up with? Encouragingly, over 50 percent of the artists included are women. Interestingly, the majority of the exhibitors were born in the 1970s. Unsurprisingly, the majority make abstract paintings. And predictably, most of them studied at Elam and nearly all of them live in Auckland. For some reason the Auckland Art Gallery is describing current painting as a ‘static form’ which will come as something of a surprise to at least one of the artists, painting machine guy Simon Ingram.

Some more numbers:

20 painters are included in the show
9 are male
65 percent studied at Elam
5 were born before 1970
13 were born in the seventies (9 after 1975)
2 were born after 1980
25 percent show with Hopkinson Mossman
3 are represented by Ivan Anthony
11 are represented in the Auckland Art Gallery’s collection
2 were in Natasha Conland’s Freedom Farmers exhibition in 2013
72 is the age of the oldest artist and 29 the youngest

Image: cyclone Josh hits land