There is always a lot happening in the super-charged art world of the 21st century, and I am constantly amazed by the number of new artists who seem to emerge each year. Some would say that the cart is driving the horse -- that the machine that is the contemporary art world demands new artists at an ever increasing -- and unhealthy -- rate. I understand where the cynical view comes from, but I choose to be a bit more sanguine about the situation. After all, more artists than ever now have a chance to support themselves through their creative efforts, and that is certainly not a bad thing.
While the idea of historically identifiable "-isms" has largely been jettisoned as a quaint 20th c entury notion, there are certainly notable areas of artistic practice that seem to, for whatever reason at certain moments, gain traction with large numbers of artists. For the past several years, non-objective painting has been one such area.
As of late, emerging artists from throughout the world have been busy tearing painting down, and building it back up again; questioning exactly what a painting is; and coming up with ever more inventive and unique processes for making paintings. Many artists have taken a "provisional" stance, while others are producing highly finished work that so blurs the line between two and three-dimensional practice that traditional categories of media become all but useless. (The latter tendency is being explored in a just opened exhibition at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA.)
My list of painters to watch in 2013 intentionally reflects this current moment in painting. As such, it could fairly be asked whether some of the artists on the list are even painters per se. Without a doubt, all of them take cues from the history of painting and, whether or not paint is actually used in the execution of their work, produce objects that force the viewer to address issues central to painting.
Enjoy the list.
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